Let’s face it. Remodeling is a bit like “child birth”. Initially there’s some fear, some anxiety and yes… a little discomfort during the process. But just as these memories vanish when a mother looks into the eyes of her newborn, homeowners forget the normal trials and tribulations of remodeling once their newly “reborn” home emerges.
You can actually enjoy the remodeling process if you just follow two simple principals: #1-Be prepared and #2-have the right attitude.
Being prepared includes recognizing that a professional job with professional results requires a professional. Be sure you select a full service design/build remodeling contractor who handles, and is responsible for, the whole project-start to finish. You should be sure that they have a full time staff and are present on site throughout the process. It’s their job to manage the project, not yours; that’s what you pay them for.
Make sure you have a clear, detailed and guaranteed cost contract, a complete scope of work and full specifications before ANYTHING starts. Most horror stories involve misunderstandings involving these basic things.
Another thing that will ensure a project will run smoothly is to have a “pre-construction” conference with your contractor prior to work beginning. Great communication makes for great projects. At this meeting, go through your contract and specs once again and be sure everyone is on the same page. Even little things like work hours, bathroom availability, and talks about “who chases fluffy if she gets out” are important discussions to have.
Your contractor should also warn you to remove personal items from the work area and even to take down things hanging on the other side of the walls in the work area, just to be sure. An initial schedule, and basic understanding of what to expect and when, will go miles toward helping you prepare for those times that sinks, ovens and dishwashers won’t be available to you.
Hint: unless you have the luxury of a second kitchen or plans were included for a temporary kitchen in the basement, start to stock pile coupons for pizza delivery and Chinese right now.
But the most important part of surviving any home remodel is simply having the right attitude.
Have realistic expectations. If you expect to say “Driver, MOVE THAT BUS” in seven days, you are going to be disappointed. That is not reality. Reality is, if you did your homework in selecting a professional design/build remodeling contractor, the “birthing pains” involved in your “re-born home” will all be worth it.
You can learn more about Gettum Associates remodeling process by checking out our 3 Step Remodeling Process Here.
The Remodeling Budget Conversation – From a Contractor’s Perspective
The subject of budget can be perceived as a hard conversation to have with your remodeling contractor. It is only natural to be a little apprehensive in revealing your real budget number. For instance, you are afraid that if you say your budget is $25,000, the contractor will spend the full amount – when you could have gotten what you wanted for less.
While we certainly can appreciate your standpoint, the truth is that when you work with a reputable contractor, they aren’t out to gouge you. They want to give you the best product they can within your budget. After all, contractors rely on repeat and referral business. If they don’t make you feel like you got value for your investment, they quickly find themselves out of work – and out of business.
Here are a few thoughts we’d like to share to help you get more comfortable with the remodeling budget conversation.
Any remodeling firm you are considering should have a process that involves an initial consultation. Here, they’ll ask you many questions about the project you are considering, visit your home, offer some options and will eventually ask you what budget you have in mind.
From our perspective, it is important that you are open and candid with us about your budget. This is the only way we can provide you with options that fit your needs – and budget. Certainly, we can offer the Rolls-Royce version, but if your budget is more in line with Ford, we want to learn that early on in the process. Like all reputable contractors, we aren’t out to spend the entire amount you’ve allotted for your project. Instead, we are eager to provide you with a few options – within your budget – for your consideration.
For example, if you have a budget in mind to remodel your kitchen, but it is a bit tight, we may be able to provide some ideas you hadn’t thought of. This could involve refinishing some of the existing elements, such as floors or cabinets, instead of replacing them. Conversely, if spending just a little bit more will allow you to upgrade finishes, we want to propose those options, too. We simply want to provide you with all the information you need to make a decision you’ll be pleased with.
Another thought: If you aren’t comfortable with a particular contractor, for whatever reason, this is probably not the right contractor for you. You must feel comfortable around them – after all, you are letting them on your property and oftentimes inside your home. If you aren’t connecting with a contractor and can’t be honest about your budget, then simply move on to another company.
Finally, we recognize that everyone has a budget for their remodeling project. Even if you don’t know precisely how much things cost, you do have a figure in your head of what you are willing to spend. Sharing this early in the process can save you aggravation and project delays, and ultimately get you closer to seeing your project come to fruition.
Learn more about our design/build process.
Creating Curb Appeal|Top 9 Tips for Attracting Home buyers
What's the first thing that buyer's see? It's not your flooring. It's not your bathroom. It's not even your kitchen or living room. No, the first thing they see is the outside of your house. If your curb appeal isn't very appealing, then it's time to get to work.
Put On Your Buyer's Hat
When you walk around your home, you're probably used to seeing things a certain way. This is only natural - it is your house after all. But, buyers like seeing things their way. This usually means that they like to see a "picture perfect" house.
No one wants to feel like they're buying someone else's memories, problems, or idiosyncrasies. That means that you should spend some time with a pen and a notepad walking around your home with a buyer's hat on. Note anything that looks "off." For example, if there are cracks in the sidewalk that have been there for 10 years, what can you do to fix them?
If the picket fence is missing a few pickets, it's time to get on that. What about your driveway? It's got some uneven spots that you've learned to drive around. Your buyers won't be as understanding as you are. Fix that stuff.
Take A Look At The Roof
Your roof is something that buyers do look at, even if you've forgotten about it. Are the shingles starting to butterfly? How old is the roof? If it's really old, you might need to replace it. If it just needs some cleaning, then clean it. If you need roofing repair or replacement in the Indianapolis area, give Gettum Home Exteriors a call!
Make Your Numbers Shine
Dirty, faced, or broken house numbers are a sort of bad omen. If your house numbers don't look so hot, consider cleaning them, repainting them, or replacing them. You'll be surprised at just how much of a difference this makes.
Get a Second Opinion
Hire a real estate agent from a place like Agent Harvest to help you get your house in order before you go full-bore. Real estate agents know what it takes to sell a house. Ask for their honest opinion. Often, they can pick up on things you missed.
Pressure Wash All The Things
Take a pressure-washer to that deck, and the side of your house. It'll improve the selling price by making the place look "fresh."
Bushes, plants, and even trees can make the home look more inviting. Plant trees, shrubs, or even put a few potted plants by the front door - they're very welcoming.
Here Comes The Sun
Open up the drapes and let the sun in. Buyers are attracted to that sort of thing. It makes sense if you think about it. You don't like walking into a dark house, do you?
Paint The Trim
Paint costs about $25/gal. Spend a few bucks and give the front door and the trim a fresh coat of paint.
Take Glamor Shots Of The House
Most buyers these days start their search online, so taking good shots of your home is one of the more important things you can do. After you've made the house look beautiful, capture it with an artistic photo - only, you don't want the photo to look too staged or photoshopped. Make sure that the light outside is nice and bright, and that you're not trying to take a photo of the home behind trees or shrubs. Pay attention to the surrounding landscape and try to incorporate anything of significant detail.
For example, if you have shrubs or trees that add to the feel of the property, but won't get in the way of the shot, include those in the photo.
About the author:
Arthur Young has a strategic eye for real estate. He greatly enjoys helping homeowners buy and sell in today's housing market.
Tips for a deck addition
Decks have long been considered a "friendly" project for the weekend, do-it-yourself capable homeowner. However, there are a few things you should be aware of when planning your next deck addition for your backyard living space.
First and foremost, be sure to contact your local building department and ask if permits are required for deck construction. This can vary from location to location, so a quick phone call can help save you a potential hassle down the road. In some cases, the requirement of a building permit and the inspections required to fulfill the permit, can be peace of mind in knowing your deck is constructed safely.
Deck construction tips
The ledger board connection is a critical component of any safe, long-lasting deck: Unfortunately, there have been many reported injuries and even deaths resulting from inadequate attachment of the deck to the house or building. Nails simply are not a good answer when making this connection. Nails can pull out of the band joist when the deck is under load and can cause sudden, catastrophic collapse. Lag screws or lag bolts provide more protection against fastener pull-out. If your going through brick or other masonry, you should definitely hire a professional.
Dig and pour new deck post footings per code: Depending on your local area, the depth of your footings could vary. A quick call to your local building department can answer that question. As well, the size of your footings can depend on the design of your deck structure. Not only should you take into account the size of the deck support posts as well as the size of the deck, you may consider taking into account any future additions, such as a screeen porch on top of your deck. Doing a little oversizing now can save a possible huge pain later.
Make sure the joists are sized correctly: Undersized deck joists, at the very least, will make for a bouncy deck. Even joists that are sized for a specific span may make for a squishy-feeling deck if they are at the end of their allowable span. To alleviate this potential problem, you can install a built-up beam to break up the distance of the span or you can increase the size of the joist. Either way, a little extra time or money or both will pay for itself in the long run.
Plan for railings: In many cases, if your deck is a given height off the grade or ground, you may be required to install railings. There are many design options for railings, however they all need to adhere to the building code. The building code dictates the overall height of the railing, as well as the spacing between balusters or spindles.
Think about grass and weed control: If you do not intend on installing lattice, or closing off the bottom of the deck at all you may want to think ahead. When grade falls dramatically and the outter edge of the deck is above grade, grasses and weeds can get enough light to grow. Not only can this be unsightly, it can also trap moisture on the underside of the wood by blocking airflow, leading to premature rot and decay. A little advance planning and a small investment can eliminate this problem. First, treat vegative growth with a broad spectrum weed and grass killer. Then, cover the ground underneath the deck area with black plastic film. Finally, cover over the black plastic with pea gravel or other stone material. Your weed problems are, for the most part, gone!
Building a multi-level deck? Multi-level decks can be very dramatic and beautiful. However, they can pose a safety threat. Adding deck lighting can help in illuminating steps up or steps down from different deck platform elevations. Consult with a trusted electrical contractor in your area before construction.
What is your comfort level in deck maintenance? There are many different options when it comes to decking. Materials vary widely in when it comes to looks as well as costs. Wood options, such as pressure-treated decking and cedar decking are usually cheaper than synthetic or composites such as Trex or Azek brand decking. As with any material selection, there are pros and cons. Be sure to compare each product and make the choice that is right for you and your budget. And take note that every decking product choice requires some degree of maintenance to achieve longetivty and good looks. Whether it be power washing, staining or sealing natural wood or scrubbing and washing a syntetic or composite.
Thinking about a deck or porch addition? Do you have the time and patience to deal with permits, inspections and construction? Give a professional remodel contractor a call and relax! Gettum Associates, Inc has been remodeling homes since 1987 and our in-house design can help plan and construct your backyard project.
Call today, (317) 888-5681 or click below:
Rental Property Do’s and Don’ts
The unsteady housing market in the United States has opened up new entrepreneurial opportunities in the rental market for many people who were once closed off from purchasing property at all. According to the National Multi-Housing Council (NMHC), about one-third of United States households live in rental properties, which means there is definitely money to be made as a rental property owner. The question is, are you up for the challenge?
Just as with anything worthwhile, there is a huge learning curve for anyone interested in delving into the world of rental properties. Here are some general tips and linked resources on where to find information on the subject of rental properties and the law, what to look for when selecting units for purchase, and how you can be sure that you’re within the law when choosing the right tenants.
Before you even begin your search for rental properties, educate yourself in the relevant areas of law surrounding renters and your rental property responsibilities. Is this an obvious tip? Sure, but do you know where to look for reputable tips and advice on how to enter the rental property market, and what to do once you get there?
The laws related to owning rental property are complex and cover everything from who’s responsible for car accidents on your property to how to legally evict a tenant. So, the importance of obtaining your information from official sources, such as federal and state governmental housing agencies, cannot be overstated. When you decide to become a landlord, your actions immediately fall under a new set of state and federal laws. If you follow advice from an untrustworthy source, you set yourself up for potential liability related claims on subjects including discrimination, wrongful eviction, and property repairs.
Where to Buy
If you’ve just started your search for rental properties, you already know that there are seemingly endless purchase opportunities available to you. So, how do you know where to begin? The internet offers a lot of advice on this subject, but, again, be cautious about which site you turn to for advice. Here are a few quick tips from the pros:
If you will be a hands-on landlord, look for properties that offer a relatively easy commute for you. As the owner, it will be your responsibility to handle inspections and repairs, and you’ll need to get them done in a timely manner.
Once you’ve closed on a property and are ready to rent it out, it’s time to find the perfect tenants. Here’s where it gets especially tricky for rental property owners who have decided not to hire property managers, but will be handling the screening process themselves. You have spent a lot of time and money on your new rental property, so it’s imperative that you properly screen applicants to find quality tenants who will take care of your investment. It’s just as important, though, that you follow the federal fair housing laws, and not inadvertently discriminate against a potential tenant. Keep in mind that, over and above federal law, some states establish their own housing laws that include protection for groups that aren’t covered under federal law.
Buying and renting out investment properties is a big endeavor for anyone, especially first time landlords. The key components of the process include educating yourself on the laws (both federal and state), determining the best areas to purchase property, and finding responsible tenants. If you cover all of your bases right, your new business venture could end up reaping rewards for you for years to come.
Air Quality Search and Destroy: Stealthy Indoor Pollutants You Need to Attack
When you consider that the majority of people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors you soon realize that we should pay a lot more attention to the quality of the air that we are breathing.
Many of the pollutants that are invading our air space are very hard to detect without specialist equipment as they are often invisible to the naked eye and often do not produce any clues to their existence by way of smell or other indicators that we would be able to pick up on.
Poor indoor air quality is ranked as the 4th largest pollution threat to Americans according to the http://www.epa.gov/.
There are many potential pollution threats that simply cannot be seen or smelt despite their pervading presence in your air space. The dangers to our air quality can come from a number of sources and the consultants http://landing.edrnet.com/vaporintrusion.html, suggest that cleaning products, chemicals used in dry cleaning, plastic products like keyboards, paint and even some types of furniture are just some of examples of how indoor pollutants could invade your space.
Indoor air pollution explained
Indoor pollution is caused by gases or particles being released into the air from some of the sources already mentioned or from a number of other potential contaminants. The level of pollution can vary dramatically from harmless to health but a cause of minor irritation, to potentially deadly and a threat to life.
The problem is that long-term exposure to polluted air will most likely increase your risk of suffering from respiratory diseases, heart problems and even the prospect of cancer.
Most of us are now aware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos and pesticides for example, but you should also exercise caution when choosing the household cleaning products you are going to use in your home.
Some of these cleaning products release pollutants as and when they are used whilst other items such as air-fresheners could actually be releasing pollutants continually if they are in constant use.
There are dangers from gas pollutants such as radon or formaldehyde and some products may release fine particles containing asbestos or mold spores, so check the credentials of cleaning products and related items that you intend to use indoors.
Measuring your indoor air quality
The problem with a number of indoor pollutant sources is that they represent a hidden danger and if you wanted to test for the presence of Radon for example, there is no way of doing this without using a specific device because Radon is colorless and odorless.
You can buy a device at many hardware stores that will enable you to measure the levels yourself or if you have a number of concerns and there are signs of poor indoor air quality through condensation, mold or mildew or you simply want to ensure that your air quality is adequate and not presenting a potential health hazard, it makes sense to contact a professional service who can check for a whole host of problems during testing and inspection.
Seeing as we spend so much time indoors, it makes sense to attack and destroy any pollutants that may be trying to attack and invade our air space. Click the image of the radon test kit to learn more.
Looking for more useful information? Click below:
About the author:
Peter Samuels is an experienced building manager. He enjoys blogging about his years on the job facing all sorts of common and unusual management situations.
This Indianapolis couple knew it was time renovate their master bedroom suite. The existing suite was typical for a traditional two-story home built in the 1970's, and although the space was adequate, the simple bedroom with two sliding-door closets and a small master bath lacked the features our clients wanted.
Now that the couple’s children were grown and out of the house, they had the opportunity to enlarge the room by utilizing an adjacent 11’ x 15’ bedroom to create a grander master suite that included an enhanced master bathroom and sizable walk-in closet (designed by California Closets of Indianapolis).
Let the Light Shine In
We first met this couple a few years ago when we built a sunroom addition for them, so we knew just how important natural light was to them. The home is surrounded by many mature trees, so getting natural light into the master bedroom has always been a challenge.
We set out to design a space that provided multiple solutions for this need.
The first change, and perhaps the most dramatic, was removing the existing flat ceiling and building a vaulted ceiling above the expanded space. A vaulted ceiling gives a space a lighter, airier feel.
Another unique design element we included involved the partition walls that separate the bedroom from the bathroom. Rather than building them to meet the height of the vaulted ceiling, we constructed them at only 8 feet tall. This allows more natural light from the skylights to cascade into the entire space.Additionally, we installed eight new Velux skylights with remote-control solar shades. This design element, inspired by the skylights we used in the sunroom, provides more natural light than traditional side-wall windows do.
Finally, we replaced the existing side-wall window with a new bay window. Not only does this provide a bigger window, but the built-in seat gives the homeowners an area where they can enjoy the beauty of their backyard.
Luxurious Bath, Tiled with Character
One of the more interesting and eye-catching aspects of this bathroom remodel project is found in the tile selection. Our clients have a love for interesting tiles. Prior to the start of this project, they researched tiles extensively and settled on handmade tiles imported from Turkey. The unique tiles truly bring a distinctive design element to the space.
Natural light flows into the newly renovated master bathroom as well, and the space incorporates thoughtfully chosen glass features. A glass door was chosen for the shower, and a frosted-glass pivot door provides privacy to the toilet. A frosted-glass side panel was also installed between the shower and toilet to further allow light to flow throughout the space.
The newly constructed walk-in shower features many enhancements such as a heated tile floor, hand-held shower faucet, rain head and exquisite Turkish tile embellishing two walls. The bath floor also features a heated tile floor with a decorative tile inlay. The bath vanity includes an arch soffit with recessed lighting, lowered make-up counter with drawer, marble countertops with under-mount sink bowls and an attractive tile backsplash.
To pull their vision together, our clients worked with an interior designer who helped facilitate their ideas and convey their vision to us. This project is the perfect example of clients doing the research to determine what they wanted and us following through to make their vision a reality.
Not everyone cares about being green, but everybody likes to save money. No matter what your motivation is, a home energy audit can do both for you. Both the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Alliance to Save Energy recommend a home energy audit to see where you could be wasting electricity. You can hire a professional to perform the audit or, you can do it yourself.
If you're a homeowner looking to go the DIY route, you'll have to inspect the insulation, look for air leaks, check your heating and cooling equipment and review your past energy bills. Here's help to get you started:
If your home is more than 20 years old, the insulation may not meet current minimum recommended insulation levels. Places to inspect insulation include the attic, the exterior walls, the basement, the crawl space, an attached garage and any utility closets. Give particular attention to the attic, because that is where most conditioned air is lost in older homes.
The DOE offers these suggestions:
- Check pipes, duct work and chimneys to see if they are sealed with foam caulk or some other sealant.
- Check to see if there’s a vapor barrier under the insulation, such as tar paper or plastic sheeting. Vapor barrier paint is acceptable as well.
- Check attic vents to make sure insulation isn’t blocking them.
- Check to see how deep the insulation is. If you can see floor boards or rafters through the insulation, it may not be thick enough. Use the DOE's zip code insulation calculator to determine if your insulation is thick enough.
- Check insulation in exterior walls by removing outlet covers. Insulation should be visible around the inside of outlets.
Air leaks account for up to 30 percent of energy loss per year, according to the DOE. Air commonly leaks around windows, doors, light fixtures (inside and outside), dryer vents and oven vents. First look for visible gaps, and then try this trick: Have someone stand on one side of the window or door with a hair dryer running around the frames. See if you feel air coming through, and if you do, weatherproof everywhere you feel the air.
Heating and Cooling Equipment
Perform regular maintenance on heating and cooling equipment to ensure proper operation, extend their life and save energy. Inspect equipment for dirty filters, rusted metal, dirty coils and vents and clutter on top of or around the base of equipment. Blocking equipment vents can cause motor and compressor burnout and create a fire hazard.
Review three to five years' worth of bills from your electricity provider. Look for trends and spikes in usage. Check your utility company's website for more tips on saving money and energy. Some utility companies offer free audit services and resources.
Ceiling fan direction: Does it make a difference?
I was told that I should change the direction that my ceiling fans spin in during cooler months. Since I’ve never done this I’m not sure in which they should be set to spin. - Ashley Leftwich
Hi Ashley. Thank you for your question.
Today, ceiling fans are a common fixture in most homes. Spinning counterclockwise, they move air around the room. Not all energy experts feel it's a good idea to use them in the heating season (doubters says they cool the air too much), but the fans do help bring heated air down to earth in rooms with cathedral or high-sloped ceilings. However, that's only if you slide the reversing switch on the side of the motor housing to the winter (clockwise) position. Then run the fan at its lowest speed. If you can't reverse the blade rotation or if you think the fan is cooling off the room too much, leave it off.
How to Protect Your Home While Renovating
Home renovations, whether done DIY or with a contractor, can be an especially exciting time. Finally, after months or even years, you’re turning that small, unused bedroom into an expansion of the living room, or you’re adding the sunroom you’ve been dreaming about since you bought the house. No matter what changes are being accomplished, you should double-check that your home will be protected before and during the renovations.
Minor renovations likely won’t affect your home’s overall security, but there are some changes you should think twice about before going right ahead. For example, you may be ecstatic about the possibility of a high, wraparound fence that gives you complete privacy from neighbors. However, high fences are one of the first features a burglar looks for, since they know that no neighbors or police driving by will be able to notice anything abnormal occurring at your home from the other side of the fence. For the same reason, if you’re considering heavy landscaping, any large shrubberies or trees should be kept away from the side of your house, otherwise they’ll provide the perfect cover for burglars.
If you’re considering adding a sunroom you should recognize that, with so many breakable windows, this room will be a main target point for intruders. Treat any sunroom like a back patio, and lock entryways between the sunroom and the rest of your house with deadbolts or automatic locks. Don’t forget to add exterior lighting, specifically motion lights, just as you would for the rest of your home’s exterior.
Don’t skimp on materials. If you’re adding new rooms, you may already be investing a hefty sum in building costs, but skimping on proper windows and doors (which should be shatter-resistant and steel, respectively) will only leave you with regrets later. That also means your window and door frames should be built from strong material that an intruder can’t wedge open with a crowbar. Chances are, your home insurance agency will help cut your costs if you inform them of any security updates by reducing your monthly bill.
If you haven’t already, install a home security system. During renovations, doors will be open, unknown people may be walking through your home, and you might not even be home to supervise as often as you should be. Luckily, most well-known, national security systems, like ADT Security offer the option of installing surveillance equipment. If yours doesn’t, you can always take the initiative and plant a few cameras yourself. Not only will this incriminate any thieves, it will also allow you to keep an eye on kids playing too close to construction areas, as well as any workers who may be taking advantage of your dime.
It’s important during renovation to keep the construction in one area of the house at a time. That way, if walls are coming down, or windows and doors are left vulnerable, you can lock up the rest of the house, so that any intruders won’t have immediate access to your entire home.
When replacing doors or windows, instead of leaving paper thin plastic to guard your home against weather and burglars, consider purchasing stronger door and window guards. These are usually used for vacant homes, but if you have open entrances to your home for more than a night, chances are you’ll want a little more protection.
One of the most important things to remember is to only acquire help from contractors with a well-known, positive reputation. After all, you’re letting a stranger (or strangers) into your home, and unless you’ve seen previous, positive, customer reviews, you shouldn’t consider them safe. It’s wise to go the extra step and call one or two previous customers, just to make sure no funny business occured. You may think you’re being paranoid, but any thief will tell you that they might act like professional repairman, then use the inside knowledge on your home later. This goes for any additional workers they may also hire.
Lastly, double-check that at the end of the day, everything is locked up, and your security system is set. This means that any open areas of your home are shut as best as possible and any equipment that needs to be left outside is tagged with an alarm to prevent theft.
Are you looking for a home remodel contractor in the Indianapolis area that you can trust? Call Gettum Associates
Since 1987 Gettum Associates has completed hundreds of projects in the Indianapolis area. And you can feel comfortable knowing they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.