Archive for February, 2011
Monday, February 28th, 2011
Increased value and enjoyment from an often overlooked area
According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2010-11 Cost vs. Value report, the top interior projects for resale value are a basement remodel and an attic remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house.
Finishing a basement is one of the most cost-effective remodeling projects for return on investment when homeowners sell their home in the first year. A finished basement allows you to add more finished square footage to your home at a lower cost and with less environmental impact than if you were to build a new addition.
Since finishing a basement is a complicated job, it is usually beyond the scope of most do-it-yourself homeowners. There are building code issues to consider, along with accessing electricity and plumbing, waterproofing, mildew and mold control, and insulation. Using a good design/build consultant upfront will help you achieve your goals.
Remodeling a basement can provide families with essential space for necessities such as an extra bedroom, a children’s playroom or a workout area. A remodeled basement can also make room for luxuries such as a spa-like bathroom retreat, a billiard room, a state-of-the-art home office, or a glamorous home theater, wet bar or wine cellar.
Renovations can be accomplished to fit your budget. For instance, installing a wine cellar ranges from $10,000 to $100,000, depending on the level of options desired.
A finished look is achieved by using a mixture of both natural light and alternative lighting options. As natural light is limited in a basement, and there may be issue with two paths of egress, window wells with covers or egress basement windows are a proven solution. See some examples at www.wellcraftwells.com. Quality finishes, including upscale millwork, stone, tile, and high quality wood paneling ensure a cohesiveness appearance throughout your home. There are many options to arrive at your desired environment: a gas fireplace provides warmth and cozy ambiance, while using pale colors on the walls creates a feeling of spaciousness.
Finishing your basement turns under-utilized space into an asset that will increase the selling price of your home and decrease the market time when you are ready to sell. However, the true value comes from the renewed livability and enjoyment of your home that a basement renovation can bring to you and your family.
Friday, February 25th, 2011
The first post on this family room addition was on January 25th http://titusbuilt.com/blog/?p=408
. Progress is running smoothly despite all the snow and ice. Today, with all the rain, I am wondering about the melting snow and if the crew is dealing with flooding conditions.
Below are some photos taken this month. On the exterior the windows, doors, columns, siding and roof shingles have been installed. The interior walls have been filled with insulation, electrical outlets have been installed, and the drywall is in place.
The progress is very enticing… Can’t wait to see the finished room!
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
What does "green" mean to you? The list is endless and the definition of "green" is different for many people. The fundamental concept of green is conserving the earth’s resources so that they are not depleted faster than they can be replenished. Learn to make conscious choices and be aware of potential consequences. Here are just a few of the ways people live a greener lifestyle:
Become less wasteful and more energy-efficient.
Remember to turn off lights, unplug unused appliances, and wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
Save money on energy costs.
Turn down thermostats, replace incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs, and clean dryer filters.
Find cheaper, earth-sustainable alternatives.
Ride bikes, take mass transit, and use paperless statements.
Make healthier basic choices for your home.
Use solvent-free grout, low-formaldehyde carpet pads and insulation, low-VOC paint, or a water treatment system.
Build with recycled materials.
Choose reclaimed wood, recycled steel, or recycled material countertops.
Ask Titus Built for tips about conserving natural resources and saving energy costs.
Monday, February 21st, 2011
How to determine what makes sense for your family.
Before making the decision to renovate your existing home or move, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you like the town you live in?
- Do you like your property and your neighbors?
- Is your property expandable?
If the answer is "no" to any of these questions, then you need not give remodeling another thought!
On the other hand, if you answer "yes" to the questions above then you still must consider the following:
The Selling Cycle: During the selling process your home must always be kept clean and tidy for potential viewings. In today’s economy it is taking an average of four months to sell a home in Fairfield County.
Moving Before You Sell: If you move and sell your home after relocating to your new home, potential buyers will believe that if you hold onto your old home long enough the stress factor will come into play. This increases the chance that you will receive lower offers on your home.
Unexpected Upgrade Costs: When upgrading your home and moving to a new location, you must consider the higher costs. A larger home also means bigger utility bills, homeowner’s insurance premiums and so forth. That lawn that used to cost you $100/week to maintain now costs much more. Do your homework and get estimates on these additional costs prior to purchasing your new home. We have heard from many homeowners who were taken by surprise when their Landscape Contractors gave them the estimate for their new property!
Related Fees: Real estate commissions, closing and moving costs will typically be 10% or more of your selling price.
Moving Costs and Headaches: Once you sell your home you have to pack up your belongings and move. The new home will be filled with boxes to unpack and redecorate.
Redecorating Expenses: Unless your home is custom built, you will also need to paint and refurbish your new home. Perhaps those drapes and blinds that fit so nicely in your old home no longer suit the new house. Sometimes, although the previous owners thought their taste was exquisite, you don’t share the same aesthetic.
Family Issues: If children are involved, they must be uprooted and transferred to a new neighborhood. Most children are quite resilient and able to cope with the transition smoothly, but this is obviously an important factor in a family’s decision to move.
If you are considering a move, don’t hesitate to call us before buying your new home. A Pre-purchase Consultation and Renovation Feasibility Analysis will help you visualize the renovation prior to purchase.
At Titus Built, we are able to transform your thoughts and ideas into reality. Your home will be designed to enhance your lifestyle with new technology, re-purposed rooms, and built-ins added to minimize your footprint in a clutter-free environment.
Monday, February 14th, 2011
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), based in Des Plaines, Ill and the CT chapter of NARI, Remodeling Contractors Association, offers tips for homeowners affected by snow and ice damage. Consumers must avoid doing business with unregistered contractors or contractors that are not certified by the EPA.
As of April 22, 2010, federal law requires that:
- Renovation firms must be certified under EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule
- Individuals must be trained in lead-safe work practices
- Training providers must be accredited by EPA.
Con artists often show up at a homeowner’s door after a disaster, offering an array of services and demanding a hefty down payment up front. They might offer a "great deal," based on using materials left over from a neighbor’s job, but homeowners should remember that a "great deal" isn’t always what it seems. Frequently, these fly-by-night operators drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates, or set up temporary offices from which they can move quickly once authorities start looking for them. Before writing that check, and especially before allowing any unknown individual into your home, NARI suggests that a homeowner:
- Get the name and address of the company that person allegedly represents.
- Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it. Be sure you understand everything in the contract and that any verbal promises made are included in the contract.
- Determine how long the company has been in business and call organizations with which the contractor is affiliated, such as NARI or other trade associations, to determine the firm’s legitimacy.
- Ask for references and contact each one.
- Remember that any legitimate company that wants your business will be more than willing to allow you the time to do your homework. Don’t fall prey to high-pressure tactics such as "this is the only chance you have" or "by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone."
Homeowners should be especially skeptical if they….
- Come to your door unsolicited.
- Use high-pressure sales tactics.
- Request full payment before completing the work.
- Give a post office box without a street address or phone number.
- Promise to begin and complete the work more quickly and cheaply than any other company.
- Say they just finished work on your neighbor’s house and have just enough materials to do repair work on yours. They might say they can give you a better bargain if you let them do the work today since they have the supplies now.
NARI is a professional association whose members voluntarily subscribe to a strict code of ethics. Homeowners may wish to search www.NARI.org on the Homeowners Guide page for additional tips, or to find a qualified professional who is a member of the Connecticut Chapter of NARI. Homeowners may also call the NARI National hotline at 800-611-NARI and request a free copy of NARI’s brochure, "How to Select a Remodeling Professional".
Titus Built, LLC has provided residential design and build remodeling services in Fairfield County, Connecticut since 1995. The company provides a unique customer experience by delivering the convenience of truly integrated, step-by-step design and building services. Titus Built has developed a loyal following in the Fairfield County area with its focus on the highest quality craftsmanship, a systematic project process, and dedicated attention to customer care.