Category: Remodeling

8 Steps: Before you Build a Swimming Pool

Dreaming of a new pool in the backyard? When you are ready to take the next step closer to your new swimming pool; keep in mind the 8 steps that will help influence the right decisions and bring success to a complex home improvement project.

  1. Budget: Keep a ballpark range in mind for the fully completed project. Plus keep an estimated amount that you are happy to pay for maintenance and up-keep. The bigger the pool, the higher the costs, so plan according to what you need and your budget.
  2. Quotes: Get multiple quotes from multiple sources! Choose a pool builder with a good reputation, star ratings, references, real work experience and an up-to-date insurance and license.
  3. Designs: When getting your quotes, talk to pool designers and find out which pre-made pool designs will work best for your space. You can also design a custom made pool which will be more expensive however it may work better for any unique landscaping shape that your property is on. Also talk with your pool salesmen about what type of filtration and cleaning system options are available.
  4. Safety:  Water safety laws will differ from State to State. With many swimming pool safety options available, it is important to save a portion of your budget to allow for the best safety that accommodates your household needs. You can talk to the pool builder and get some ideas on what will work best for your home.
  5. Permits: Before you begin make sure all necessary city permits and/or permission from your Home Owners Association is signed off on. (Ask your chosen pool builder to help you navigate this process.)
  6. Contracts: If you are signing a contractual agreement with a pool builder; read the fine print carefully and make sure you are protected if something goes wrong. Confirm that you will not be held liable for any accidental damages caused to a neighborhood property by their crew and all clean up will be 100% completed by the builder at the end of the project.
  7. Finances: Do not agree to financing your pool with an un-known financial institute that is pushed on you by any contractor or building firm. Do your own research and find the best financing options on your own terms.
  8. Protect yourself: Keep good records of all communication going back and forth between you and your contractor. Take pictures of progress and keep in touch with their office to make sure everything is going successfully. If any changes are made to the plans, request documentation of any changes made that will cost more or less than the agreed amount.

We want you to have the best experience with building a new swimming pool and wish you many fun filled family moments of wonder and joy.

Try our 2-3 Quotes from Local, Insured and Star Rated swimming pool builders who will work hard to compete for your business with the best rates and workmanship.

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How to Find and Hire a Good Contractor

Your Contractor Check-List
Your Contractor Check-List

There is no denying that the best way of finding a good contractor is by word of mouth. Friends or family who have tried and tested any service will always have a personal experience and recommendation they can offer you.

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The next best and easiest way to find reputable contractors is to find a reliable online service that offers trusted customer ratings. These reputable sites should have already done some groundwork for you like providing access to licensed local contractors… without a fee!  (FYI no fees here!  www.contractoreasy.com/get-quotes)

Here are 8 steps to get yourself started the right way.

1.  Get multiple Quotes & Estimates: For extensive remodeling get the quotes in writing. You can easily compare bids and choose accordingly. (Don’t forget to do your research on any subcontractors you may need to use as well.)

2.  References: It will give you peace of mind to hear from other clients how competent the contractors work is. Ask them for a list!

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3.  Contractor Insurance: Ask to see current certificates for; Worker’s compensation, personal liability, and property damage coverage insurance.

4.  Permits:  Make sure your contractor will get all the necessary permits if required.

5.  Time line: Get an estimated start and finish date.  (Inspect and approve the completed work before you make final payment.) 

6.  Payment: It is safer not to pay cash, but rather pay by checks or credit card even for smaller projects. As a safety net, have a written contract or agreement for the payment schedule for the completion of each section. 7You have the right to re-negotiate and be informed if the project is going to exceed the estimated amount. It is also vital you get confirmation from subcontractors and suppliers that their bills have been paid in full before you make the final payment. (Ask for a lien release or lien waiver)

7.  The Broom Clause: You won’t regret asking the contractor to be responsible for  the cleanup work involved after remodeling is complete.

8.  Receipts & Records: Keep copies of change orders, contracts, manufacturer warranties, project progress photos, correspondence and receipt of all payments.

We hope that your home improvement projects go smoothly and you have the best possible experience. Finding a great contractor that understands your needs and does their best to please you is like finding gold! Remember to reward them by recommending their services to friends and family…and don’t forget to give them a 5 star rating!

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9 Tips for Avoiding a Contractor Scam

contractor scam

Ever had that uncomfortable feeling when you took a chance by hiring a contractor from an unreliable source? Taking a risk with your money and security is something every homeowners needs to minimize and make careful decisions on.

 

Here are 9 warning signs to look for.

1.    They knock on your door to offer you a discount for forwarding customers to them.

2.    They offer “lifetime” warranty or a “Guarantee” that sounds too good to be true.

3.    They ask for immediate full cash payment upfront.

4.    They are extremely pushy and pressure you to make a decision fast.

5.    They ask you to get local approval requirements (permits) from the municipality. Licensed contractors typically navigate this process to show the municipality that all work is being done to meet safety codes and they will plan to be present for required inspections.

6.    They ask you to sign documents or contracts with blank spaces in them that they will fill out after you sign it.4

7.   They suggest a moneylender they know who will help you finance.

8.   They pressure you to agree to loan terms for contractor financing without comparing with different lenders.

9.   They make you believe they have left over materials from previous jobs and that this is an advantage to you.

 

To empower yourself against unethical business practices: Always keep good records of communication and documentations. We recommend using certified mail and requests receipts for everything.

Check out our next blog post How to Find and Hire a Good Contractor.

Come back soon to stay up-to-date!

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Interview with an Interior Designer – Be Inspired!

Interior Decorator

Not everyone has the skills or talent to decorate and design a home using colors, patterns, textures and furniture that flow together in perfect harmony! That’s why I wanted to talk with an Interior specialist and find out what’s so compelling about professional interior designing and how it improves a home’s market value.

Featuring: Erin Polonet –  Superior Interiors

Erin

1.  Share with us what motivates you when working for clients who hire you?

“I get motivated when clients want to freshen up their space. They are taking a big step when investing in their home so I love to help them discover creative ideas for their project plans. They are trusting in my expertise to help them find a solution to their problem.”

2.  What is the most highly sought after interior feature people are looking for in a new home?

“The most popular are a newly decorated master bathroom, up-to-date kitchen and living area.”

3.  In your opinion do you feel investing in professional interior designer increases the market value of a home?

“Absolutely! If you hire an interior designer, they can help you keep your home updated with newer and fresher flooring, furniture and accessories which will make it easier to sell when the time comes.”

4.  Share with us ‘your number one priority’ or ‘the most important factor to consider’ when choosing the right color scheme for a home?

“Color is everything! It’s so important to choose the right color for a room or space. The wrong color could easily throw off the balance of the space it encompasses. It can be difficult to choose which colors will look best in each room; so I love to help my clients make selections that will be timeless and also suit their personal taste and home perfectly.”

 

SuperiorInteriors

5.  In your experience with interior home improvement projects:

Which do you believe adds the most market value when selling?

“A updated, functional flowing home. A lot of older homes are very segregated and don’t provide natural flow into each living space. This can ward off home buyers with more modern taste. “

What do people notice the most in a professionally decorated home?

“Color makes a big difference and tasteful decorations and accessories in a home always impress any potential home buyer.”

What are the key features that people are looking for when purchasing a new home?

“Everyone has something different they are looking for when purchasing a home, but most people agree that having a good flow throughout the home is ideal as well as a nice functioning kitchen.”

6.  Finally, share with us one industry “secret” that makes hiring an interior designer a great investment to home-owners?

 “The secret to my success is my knowledge about home building. I know as well as any builder how remodeling should be done and paired with my design skills I help keep the contractors on task and help them not loose sight of the vision of the end product. With major renovations I get involved and measure, calculate and double check that every step is done right and meets clients expectations. There is a lot of math involved in calculating exact measurements to make remodeling successful. I make sure the contractor does it right because no short cuts or bad workmanship gets past me. I make them give 100% and this makes my clients happy!”

What do you think of the photo of Superior Interiors Luxury bathroom design? We would love to hear your comments!


About Erin:

Erin’s specialty and passion is in luxury bathroom design, kitchen remodeling and custom drapery design. She expertly measures and calculates every detail that contractors need to know to fit in cabinets, flooring, fixtures and window coverings.

Her clients love using her because her communication with the contractor helps reduce stress and avoids the accidental miscommunication that often happens when negotiating construction or design plans with workmen. Erin has been an interior designer for 11 years and lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three sons.

If you live in Dallas please contact Erin at superior.interiors@att.net for your very own interior design inspiration.

Image Sources: Copyright of Superior Interiors and used with permission.

 

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4 Ultimate Home Improvement Gifts

Looking for a gift that just keeps on giving? Let me introduce you to ContractorEasy’s Top 4 gifts!

For the Ladies:

  1. Luxury Spa Style Bathroom Make-over: Transform your bathroom into a ultimate relaxation space that you can enjoy for a lifetime. From extra-deep soaking tubs, flawless tiles, new luxury vanity fixtures and a waterfall shower head; no one is going to regret this remodeling expenditure.
  2. Custom Kitchen Cabinets: Her kitchen the way she wants it! Let her have some creative freedom to redesign those kitchen cabinets to work just the way she needs them to.

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For the Men:

  1. Man Cave: Prepare to blow his mind with a custom designed space to let him chill out and unwind.  A basement transformation or a garage remodel: The possibilities are endless with what you can do in a room to make it feel manly and a fun place to hang out.
  2. Customized Hobby Storage: Get that cabinet or display case custom made for his own personal stuff. Whatever his collectables are: movies, model cars, guns, sports fan collectibles: Help him show it off with some custom made cabinets and make him proud!

man-cave

Our advice: Get multiple quotes from reputable local contractors and set your budget to fit what works best for your Valentine remodeling plans!

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Photo Credits: House Beautiful and WorthPoint

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Top 3 – No Regret Remodeling Projects

No Regrets
Top 3 Remodeling Upgrades

When you invest big time on your home, the last thing you want are regrets leading to wasted resources and the loss of your precious time. Adding value to your home is not just an easy 3 step process: It will involve those last three things I mentioned…resources, time and stress!

My advice is keep it simple and timeless so when the day comes to reap the rewards of getting a higher price offer on your home  – you come out the big winner at selling time.

  1. Kitchen – you can go hard-core and totally redesign and re-invent your kitchen if you have the budget, or, take the road most traveled and update countertops, cabinets and fixtures for a fabulous makeover you will really enjoy.
  2. Flooring – There is nothing more valuable than having flooring that is easy to keep clean and timeless. If you have pets, kids or respiratory health issues – make those a deciding factor when you choose what flooring is right for your family.
  3. Bathrooms – If your going to do it, do it right! There is nothing worse that a half-hearted DIY bathroom makeover that looks good on Pintrest but not in real life! Get certified plumbers with warrenties on their work and choose good quality fixtures.

There are many other additions and remodels that can add value to your home but I’ve focused on the three timeless classic remodels that you wont regret and can also enjoy for a lifetime.

 

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