“This is an in depth ongoing guide on everything you need to know about the process of renovation, remodeling and new home construction. This Blog is dedicated to Home Owners, DIY ‘ers , Contractors and Handyman, House Flippers and Newbies to Real Estate
This blog is unfinished if you have a section that you want to add or edit please feel free to email me.
The process of remodeling is a very big task even for a seasoned well skilled veteran contractor or handyman. If you can even summon up the creative juices to flow in your head to even get an inkling of what you want and how you still have to figure out simply “where do you begin”! Well the first recommended thing you should do is grab a bottle of wine dim the lights and begin your masterpiece. The Sketch. You begin by designing and bringing forth your ideas to life and once you have a clear understanding of what it is that you want, where you want , and how it’s placed it’s then time to take that design and give it to you guessed it “A Designer.
I designer could be an interior design artist, sketch artist, architect, or Autocad engineer. Which ever you pick they should be able to transfer the ideas in your head to paper and then into a computer. Why? So that you could have a 3-D rendering of the project to view which then should give a better understanding and even more ideas of what you want and where you want things placed. Try searching for an Autocad specialist or Architect at your local college. Now You could find a professional one but those guys are between 50 and 100 per hour. Remember your ideas could take 25 to 30 hours to even a 100 hours to complete your drawing. I use budding college student that know Autocad and Architects all the time. They’re trying to make some extra money to survive during college and hone their skills. Keep in mind when you draw on your designs where your electrical wiring and plumbing should go meaning where your lights sockets will be placed where your light switches to be placed and where any of your telephone jacks are to be place. Don’t forget where you’re wall sconces and ceiling fans will be. These are very important things to keep in mind and it insures your plumbing is set correctly in your bathroom and kitchen or any other type of wet areas.
Finding a Contractor
Okay so you found your autocad designer and you got your floor layout plan created well I think it’s time for us to find a contractor. Finding a contractor is by far one of the hardest things in the whole remodeling or new home building process. Finding a good reputable contractor is of course like finding a needle in a haystack in a blizzard. The best way to find a contractor that has stood the test of time is of course by word-of-mouth a friend of family maybe even a relative business associate someone that has used a contractor before and you’re able to view the work that was performed. The second way to find them of course is Google. Google is the Best way to find a contractor online with many to choose from also you can look at the reviews on Google take a peek and look at what people wrote about their experiences and try to make an informed decision from there.
How review sites like Yelp and AngiesList increases the price for your projects and hurts the all round economy!
The hidden costs of review sites to the consumer when selecting general contractors in Handyman it’s always good to know. People must avoid these review sites. These sites are the one thing that’s taking away the livelihood of majority of Handyman/Carpenters/Contractors and skilled trades all over the country. With the influx of technical nerds “that’s what we call ’em” that will never ever in their entire life swing a hammer are using tactics such as SEO and the Internet – the things that “well most tradesmen don’t know anything about” cause they are busy doing a real job are trying to control the skilled trades. When this happens the “consumer” is the one that gets hurt in the process because the handyman or the general contractors are forced to use these review sites because they make you believe in the fear that all contractors and handyman will damage the job and ripoff the client off. This is so far from the truth it’s pitiful. The only times this usually happens is when most people try to go extremely low on what they are willing to pay the good contractor. Once you skip over the real guy cause you think his cost is over your budget then you’re in shark waters and this is when all the craziness comes into play. The review sites don’t cost anything for the customers (well in Angieslist case it does) the reviews cost for the tradesmen and in return the tradesmen must pas along these charges to the consumers to be able to get back there initial investments from the review sites. There are currently thousands of these review sites across the Internet and to make a profitable business by gaining many customers they have to pay a vast number in return you’re paying for not just one but all. The best way to deal with review sites are to stay away from the ones in it for profit. Understand that they’re not really there to help you because they’re biased. The only unbiased place to check reviews is Google they don’t make the contractors pay to advertise in the sites places like Angie’s list yelp etc. etc. those people are the ones that are causing the strife and grief in the contracting field. How you typically get around this problem is by finding contractors the old traditional ways such as the phonebook and Google because typically the most good contractors are old fashioned and they don’t really use technology as much. Remember Word-of-mouth is still King.
What the review sites like Angies list and Yelp aren’t telling you.
They aren’t telling you anything. Why? because they don’t know the first thing about contracting work or handyman work. They aren’t telling you that they are selling your business to the lowest bidder. I can never stress this too much Never Go with a Low Bidding Contractor. This tactic can and will compromise your project ,your home and your family well being. They don’t tell you that they suppress the negative reviews of a paying contractor and suppress the good reviews of a non paying tradesmen. This tactic is to get them to pay for advertsing. They will only show the negative reviews.They also aren’t telling you that you can be sued by the business owner for negative reviews on their site for an unscrupulous contractor/handymans work. Look it up.
How to get work done cheap by a contractor.
Well I’ll tell you what to do next I’ll take you to the place where there’s a blog that I wrote about how to get a handyman or remodeling work done by a professional extremely cheap. It went something or other scar like this. There comes a point in every homeowner is life what you will need a serious remodel addition due to something that’s out of your control you know something like a main water line break a plumbing repair or rooter. Maybe a room addition needing electrical wiring with can lights for a new born baby. Or just a plain old I want a new lease on life and this all outdated place is holding me back! So what do you do next? Well you get online to get back in the phonebook and find your low-cost in any manner general contractor you call and set an appointment contractor comes by and goes over your project needs. Then comes the time for what the project will cost. Now play close attention – here is where most homeowner get into hot water. First the project you want done such as a new bathroom remodel or kitchen remodel in all reality will cost you generally more than 3 or 4 months of what your actual mortgage. Jesus! The contractor gives you the number and this makes your first instinct fire off and it does …what? Well of course it tries to talk the contractor down to the dollar amount that’s been in your head for the last year. Never I do mean never try to make the cost up in your head what a project will cost if you’re not a contractor it will just hurt when you get the actual price. Now back to the story.
Common mistake # 1
“If you talk someone down in any field including your own what do you think the result will be ?” Let me explain if you’re at work and you make $400 bucks a week and your boss tells you ” You know what? I want you to do the same job for $100 a week.” Guess what happens? You stop of course doing the job the correct way and you figure out a way to cheat on the job to give the boss exactly the dollar amount worth of work they asked for and only by doing the minimum amount needed. Would you ask a doctor before surgery to lower his price on your heart or brain surgery? I don’t think you would it could cause for some Forrest Gump moments later on in life. The three things you should always pay for correctly is your Doctor, Contractor and Mechanic. Your home is a direct extension of your health it can and “will” lead you to a doctor if not maintained or serviced properly. If your mechanic messes up then you could be in serious trouble on the highway and in the back at the doctor again. That’s a lot of visits. So if you decide not to properly pay a general contractor or handyman that’s remodeling your home office and they see something maybe that doesn’t even have to do with the initial job you called them for they may not bring this to your attention before he or she closes a wall which may have a life-threatening mold inside.
Common Mistake #2
No matter who you choose don’t forget to ask them what skills do they possess. Hey I know it’s a handyman/contractor you say- they have a lot of skills. Well that’s true but remember always ask them just to make sure they can complete the electrical part of the job or even the carpentry. Some handyman/contractors possess some skills and some don’t. Some are specialized in certain areas others aren’t. They all usually have a generalized skill set that will get whatever your project is completed.
Moral of the story.
How to get remodeling work done by a professional Handyman service extremely cheap? Well the answer is as simple as this. Pay them a fair amount for the job and pay them on time this will save you tons of money by making all parties happy and your remodeling contractor will do a wonderful job by not rushing through and go above and beyond the scope of the project. They will even help you save money by giving you inside tips using their material connections and so forth. This is crucial so that you won’t have to call in another contractor to go back over their work go through lengthy court battles and end up paying double or even triple in the end with nothing to show for it.
Illegal Labor vs. handyman/Local Contractor?
Pros and Cons.
So now Contractor gives you a price for a remodel job and it’s a little more than what you thought it was going to be so the average person thinks of themselves well maybe I can get someone that will do it a lot cheaper for me well cheaper usually equates to Illegal labor. Illegal labor in this country is just what it is “Illegal” (meaning not doing the right thing) (breaking the rules) which translates to most likely doing illegal work on your home and breaking the rules. Now is the cost of illegal labor better than having a real contractor come over and do the work? Well this topic has been up in the air constantly for some time in our profession and talked about over and over again by everyone. Here in Texas you can get Illegal labor extremely cheap.
The Pros of getting Illegal labor is one of course “you save money” I don’t think there is any other Pro that I can actually think of at the moment.
The Cons of Illegal labor that I could thin of are listed below.
First Con is you’re getting an illegal undocumented worker to come to work for you. Usually for the price he can do it for equals to slave labor wages and if you’re a good person you don’t want to pay anybody a slave wage labor. These people have family as well and you’re taking advantage of them and their children and that’s not a good thing.
Another Con of having an illegal laborer working at your house is you don’t know their background or their history do you want to put you or your family in danger so save a few dollars?
Another thought is illegal labor they don’t have anyone to answer too. They don’t pay taxes to the state they don’t answer to the city they don’t answer to any labor unions they don’t have a boss to answer to if they mess up on your job if it hurts you if they fall on the job in your house I mean everything is your responsibility there is no insurance so you get the bad end of the deal on that one.
If you’re caught having an undocumented immigrant working on your home you the homeowner can be arrested.
Now once you finish the project and you have everything taken care of and it’s time for payment you pay the illegal labor and they take your check to the bank they have your information also I don’t think taxes will be paid on the money you paid them so those taxes end up being paid by someone down the road. (You) Once again you’re paying more.
Okay now that we found our contractor we are on our way to start the project now it’s material buying time the contractor has gave us the price the cost for the materials a lot of times here’s another way because sometimes a contractor wants to buy the materials for you and that’s fine and dandy saves you a lot of headache they know what to get materials from they go and pick him up for you it makes everything super easy but they also do a markup on materials. I can’t tell you what the markup is on materials because it varies from Contractor to Contractor and by regions but the way you can avoid any markup on any materials is by sourcing all the materials yourself from the same places contractors source their materials from the first place that most people go to is Home Depot that’s average client and they go to Home Depot a contractor usually goes to where he has accounts with different companies such as a BMC Millwork company or Binswgner glass company or a pipe supply company or a tiling company and they usually give those I usually give the contractor deals because they come and buy from them a lot now the place where you get the best deals are from the actual places that have the materials versus Home Depot Home Depot has an Lowes have very very good materials that are cheap and I take that back they don’t have very good materials in the tears are usually cheap non-uniform and a lot of times they’re on even in size and shape across the board so you may get a tile from home but a lot of the tiles will be bigger and smaller than each other that mean they’ll be a micro meter smaller or bigger but it does make a difference versus you getting a better tile from a tile maker that make sure it all the tiles are uniform they may be a little bit more and sometimes they’re a little bit less. Always try to source your wood from the lumberyard a local lumberyard they usually take pride in making sure their lumber is straight and square versus Home Depot you can my have to go through 30 different 2 x 4 or you may have to go to Lowe’s and go through 100 sheets of plywood just to get The good ones. These places are good for appliances and tool rentals but usually get the best product is usually usually get them at the source.
I know the trick is what she go to these places you give them your measurements and met me you can get them to actually bride-to-be it out for you and that you could take around to other places and try to match prices with other companies Home Depot has a par a portion of their business it’s called the pro desk you can take your ideas and let’s say at 10 x 10 room with the roof and you give them those measurements and Home Depot I give you the measurements for the floor walls in a tell you. Everything including meaning insulation nails sheet rock that how much tile how many roofing shingles that you need all the way down to the last nut and bolt that way you won’t miss a beat. It’s okay to ask a professional at any of the places that you go to get your materials from for tips and tricks and ideas that’s what they’re therefore even contractors ask the professionals that know a lot more than them what they need to do in certain situations and there’s always new products that contractors are trying to figure out daily and how to use and they have to go to the manufacturers that sell him to find out and take classes at tutorials to figure it out the new thing nowadays is green building and how to use in dealing with green Materials it’s almost the same as just a little bit a learning curve but that’s the way building is going towards sustainable green building. Oh and don’t forget solar energy solar energy is one of the emerging technologies that you have to constantly get training year after year for so it’s always good to talk with someone that’s on the edge of the solar industry find out if your contractor knows anything about solar and if he doesn’t know then ask him who he does now.
Now onto finding a piece of property or a already owned property
Property finding 101. Existing homeowners can skip this part you have the property already. Okay let’s use this scenario so you want to find a piece of property to own and do well in but you don’t want to buy brand-new home because the cost is skyrocketing in United States and let’s just say you want to go to a real estate website to find the property on the best place to start would be drum roll please.
MLS multiple listing service
MLS is a multiple listing service that you use Bob majority real estate’s around the world MLS is the best place to go because they tell you the cost of the property per square foot properties that are usually good properties or somewhere in the range between $90 a square foot the MLS also tells you the average time a home is been on the list you can also tell you the comparable costs of homes in the area in the same area as the house that you’re looking for thing that hasn’t been sold and how many times is been sold a can tell you the neighborhoods it contains schools in those areas it can tell you the tax assessment and so forth.
The problem with the MLS is usually only real estate agents and brokers have access to the database. Regular civilians are not allowed to get on site. but the best way to do this is to find a friend who is a real estate agent or maybe a friend of a friend that has a real estate agent as a friend. I’m not for sure if they have paid sites where you can search MLS but again the best way to do it is to find a friend that is a real estate agent that I let you have access to the site.
Ride ‘ Dem Dur Darn properties down like the Wild West.
By far this is the funnest method but another way to find property is to canvas the neighborhoods that you want to live in which means that you get in your car and you drive around and you actually look for the sale signs or for Lease signs. You can easily find properties this way and of course you still can make offers on buying homes that are just for rent. There still some people that even though they rent properties doesn’t mean that they won’t sell that property just because it’s being rented or leased they just may not have found the right buyer. You may find them at the right time that they’re ready to sell.
Misfortune can be your fortune
Attorney estate sale’s and probate sales. This is where an attorney has homes where there’s been a divorce or a death or some type of financial hardship and the house goes in the probate and the property owners on the attorney work together to find a buyer the majority the time on the way to get this is Ted no probate attorneys and if you don’t know the probate attorneys in sometimes call around in the phonebook call around then and find him.
REO owned property
Another way is to talk with the banks they’re called REO properties real estate owned properties and these are banks that have houses on the books that they need to get off they need to flip and nasty to make a profit on maybe they got them through foreclosures or insurance claims or however they got them but they’re out there and then bulk and they need to get rid of them so check that option out as well.
Internet sites for Real Estate
You social media sites such as red fan and any other real estate media sites to search for properties they do listings Zillow is one of the sites and they have pretty good search refined searches in advance search is where you could narrow down the properties in the areas that you’re looking for.
Billboard signs yard signs.
Real estate yard signs yard signs and want to one of the main ones that are used to find real estate property in fair real estate property so I’m sure you’ve been driving to your neighborhood and see in a yard sign property for sale or interested in buying a property that’s one of the ways that you can finance sell properties easy quick it cost a little bit of money it’s not really free but it still a good way to get your phone ringing.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents are I’m gonna say is the lazy man’s way but it’s one of the quickest way because they know all the properties that are out there because they work and deal with them every day so trying to find a proper yourself could be time-consuming if you work or on your own business or just plain all just life gets in the way. Now real estate agent can be used in a number of ways well one good way is it’s like having someone work for you 24 seven so you can work a real estate agent like that you could also get multiple real estate agents to be working for you doesn’t really cost you anything because they get paid by finding you the property so you tell them what you want and you tell him what you’re looking for and they can go and try to find it I dare really not trying to find the distressed properties that you might water something that you might want to fix up to have to be able to have it paid off they are trying to find the properties that are worth a lot of money and worth a lot of money meaning that they get paid on commission so the larger amount of money that you spend the lodge a commission they make so they’re going to also get on your nerves are going to be sending you maybe properties that you’re looking for and they’re also going to send you properties that you aren’t going to be looking for because that’s just what they do they sell all the time so be ready for that.
So those are some of the ways to find properties to buy fix sale or do whatever it is that you want to do with them but not at that we found a way to find properties it’s time to buy the properties now or it’s time to find the money or whatever it is that we need to buy the property or fix up the property to either sell or be living in.
Where to get the money for a remodel
Hopefully the person is reading this blog is already rich and you don’t have to search around her or try to find a place to get money from him but if you don’t have a reservoir like Donald Trump to get money and then here a few different ways and I’ll explain that you can get money for remodel number one thing no one place to get money for remodel is
Home equity loan
through a home equity loan we all know made with home-equity loans are you take a loan against your property for certain amount to do with it as you please most people use at home equity loan to remodel to increase their properties value which is most likely the reason that you came here to read this blog. Call your local bank or whoever gave you the loan for your mortgage and or credit union and they should be able to help you get a home-equity loan with no problem or maybe even your real estate agent here probably hook you up with somebody in their pipeline to be able to help you.
Space the next thing that the next way that you may want to find money is through I just Plano saving it from your job Bob from wherever you work or wherever you get money from. Save up year after year until you got that money for that brand-new sparkly shiny kitchen that you been dreaming of every day.
Ask your friend & family
You can also ask friends family’s relatives or maybe you are getting them inheritance from someone maybe you’re getting in and shirts claim you know who knows take you and then you take the money and use it to wave at you deems you Seadine the best for your home maybe they even might just have materials laying around in there garage.
Hard money lenders
also there’s places call whole money lenders part I’m at home on a limb just been hard money lenders Hardmoney lenders what that’s just what you know what the name means is Hardmoney that means that they’re going to give you cash but you’re going to give them back a lot more than a normal bank would give you because they’re taking a pretty hard investment usually contractors and real estate agents use Hardmoney lenders most homeowners don’t use that but if you’re hard up for some money that’s another way that you can get it.
you can also talk with your local contractor maybe they’ll finance it for you to their company materials and labor that’s an option just make sure you check with everyone to see what their interest rates are and what it cost for that loan and for you to pay back and make sure that you can cover those costs and live comfortably.
Let’s rock n Roll
Now let’s dot all the eyes and cross all the Tees by having a contract signed between both parties. Whether it’s a handyman small job or a huge remodeling job it’s always good business to have an agreement of some sort in place.
Use the invoice method for smaller jobs under $1000 dollars. This method spells out the job the quantity and the price. Simple enough.
The contract is usually used with a $1000 or more project. the contract
Should spell out the scope of the project, the time frame, and the payment schedule.
It’s usually customary for a handyman service contractor to be paid a retainer to start the job. This varies from company to company. The most common is 1/2 up front and 1/2 upon completion after you have inspected the job. Some companies ask for a 1/4 down and the rest due upon completion.
Another scenario and one of my favorites is a payment schedule using 1/4 ths. So to start you would pay 1/4 and after every mile stone is completed you pay another until completed.
So if I was remodeling a bedroom to start would be 1/4 that’s for demo carpet or tile removal/ sheet rock and any other demo needed. Then another 1/4 for the building process framing ,electrical, sheet rocking,painting. Last quarter for finish work such as flooring ,molding,ceiling fans,vents pretty much until completed.
There are many ways to enter into the agreement just make sure it’s comfortable for both parties.
Now we got us a good contract binding both parties and there shouldn’t be any fuss from either parties what do we do next?
Who will throw all the construction debris or will they?
That’s a damn good question. It’s easily thought of as the contractor should throw away and deal with all the materials in the aftermath, but the contractor /handyman has something else in his mind “this trash belongs to you!”. With that it’s a good bet that you should always ask them if they would get rid of the trash or construction debris. The contractor/handyman will accept but also let you know there’s a labor fee and a dump fee at your local recycler. These fees are. Normal and shouldn’t be frowned upon. Just make sure whatever you decide its in writing.
Let’s not forget Permits (if needed)
It’s party time.
We got our designer we got our contractor we got our remodel property we got our money and we got our legalities in order. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty the actual project.
The contractor will now gather all needed materials or the you the client will gather them however you have the arrangement written out. They will show and neatly stack all the materials in an non obstructing area outside or inside the home shed or garage.
A handymans 8hr day is in actuality a 6 hour day. The remaining 2 hours is one for setup and one for cleanup. They have to bring out all the tools and setup the work area correctly in order to work effectively and efficiently in those 6 hours. Then when it’s all done he has to clean all tools carry all the tools and put them away them clean up the area for safety reasons and this can take some time.
What will he or she do first?
Well that depends on the job. Let’s break it down using a real world scenario that your entire home is going to be remodeled. Let’s start with top to bottom.
Well let me back up for one moment. If there is foundation or structural damage then by all means this needs to be Repaired before anything else.
“A trifle before a great mission is just absurd!” Get it fixed and have it done correctly and everything else will fall into place.
So if the foundation is solid then it’s on too the …
The roof. The roof. The roof is on fire!
(Plus tools needed)
This means we would start with the roof why because if we did the floors or outside grounds first well they would be ruined from all the fallen debris. So a roof job would consist of removing all the shingles and roofing nailed from the home using a specialized scraper shovel which has grooves in the endings of the shovel to lift up nails out of the wood. This is the part is when a roll off dumpster would come in handy for the simple fact that it’s a whole lot I mean a whole lot of shingles I the roof and you don’t want that stuff in your bushes and lawns. You want them to scrape it off Throw it directly from the roof straight to the roll off dumpster below. The. A roll of of tar paper or underlayment is then rolled out and stretched along the roof and nailed down using staples or roofing nails. He next process is to lay your shingles over the underlayment and nailing it with roofing nails. Roofing nails are extremely short. Don’t forget flashing around the gutter and chimneys also in the. Alleys which are the a does where 2 parts of the roof meet at an angle. Also remember to install vents where needed for attic ventilation and use tar in your caulking gun to seal all areas and to restore briefs your installation.
Windows (don’t want people stealing)
Garage door install
Don’t touch that dial up next is electrical
Plus tools needed link
I always like to do electrical before plumbing that’s just my pet peeve because I don’t want water and electricity mixing together pretty nasty. So starting electrical you want to place your breaker box or fuse boxes on the outside of the house and one in the garage or whatever room you want it in and get them setup with the proper breakers. A mix of 120v and 240v are the usual standard. Most plugs are 120 v. And you may have a washer or dryer that uses 240v. Drill your holes through the 2×4’s in areas where electricity will be and run your wires through the walls. The term called a home run is where you run one wire that’s dedicated for one breaker only and it runs all the way back to the breaker box from the outlet or switch. Otherwise you will have clusters of wires running in electrical boxes in the attic and coming down into walls to give power to your switches. Make sure you use electrical tape and electrical wire nuts so no loose wires can touch each other. Always mark where your boxes are going to be and don’t mount them as of yet until you know how much wire is needed to connect each end. Always connect the switch or outlet before mounting ng on the wall. Once you have everything connected it’s time to test and turn on the power.
Other wires/speakers ethernet home automation/camera/alarm
Plumbing time. Rough in
(Plus tools needed)
This is one of my favorites I love being a plumber a plumber. I just really do get satisfaction from Dawn plumbing it’s one of the only jobs that I do just enjoy taking my time and doing correctly and right. Plumbing is seriously like a video game I would say the closest game to it would be Pac-Man because you have the right angles in the left angles and you have to go through all these different turns and twists and I’ve got to have plumbing is taking a pipe and running to do a home you have to go through walls in different angles and come out in the bizarre place that you wanted to be such as a shower such as a toilet sink or Fossett. It’s you have to be efficient with palming you have to make the shortest possible distance to make water run efficiently and have the proper angles in the proper pitches to make water flow correctly so it’s it’s almost like a mad science and it’s it’s such a beautiful beautiful thing. So what does this have to do with your plumbing not a darn thing . So what is it that you want to do with your plumbing do you want to install a new shower do you want to put in a new toilet do you want to put in a new vanity abaft I mean we have to figure out what it is that you want first so let’s say that you just want a new shower a new standup shower that’s pretty that’s beautiful that exactly what we all want to new stone tile shower with the water spout directly above your head spraying down upon. Well to achieve something like that first we need to take out all the walls and all the tiles in the bathtub maybe if there is existing bathtub there and take all that out and rough it out and then what we want to do is take our old plumbing first make sure you turn your water off at the at the valve outside or whatever it is that your waterline your main line comes in that we want to turn all the water off we want to open up those pipes and we want to let all The water drain out until there’s nothing left to the very last drop into that water pipe is dry so after that we want to cut all the main lines and get all the water in the shower lines cut and we want to get where the main valves were the tubs were to sit where we want to say were adding a new one single handle
Mud tape float
paint before floors or cabinets