Best Value Home Improvement Projects

As we near the half-way mark of 2021 you may be thinking of home improvement projects you want to tackle yet this year. Now, more than ever, planning and budgeting is important.

The great thing is, you don’t have to research for hours to have a good understanding of what different projects cost and what you can expect to recoup on your investment. The Remodeling 2021 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) is a concise and accurate tool, all in one easy to navigate report. Read More >>

Hiring A Contractor During High Demand Times

Due to a higher than usual volume of projects this year, contractors of most trades are in high demand.

Many homes have been on double duty for much of the year. Working and schooling from home, preparing more meals, and even socializing at a safe distance with friends and neighbors has caused many to reconsider how to effectively use living spaces.

Some of the more popular projects have been creating a home office or home classroom, kitchen updates, a place to exercise, and outdoor socializing spaces. For many, these types projects require the assistance of a home improvement professional.

In addition to increased contractor demand, vendors are experiencing a shortage of building materials, such as lumber, plumbing, and electrical supplies. City building departments struggle to keep up with the volume of construction permits. These are just a few things contributing to longer than usual delays and increased costs.

It appears current demands are not likely to ease anytime soon. If you plan to make home improvements in the coming months and hire a contractor to help, there are some things you can do to expedite the process. Preparing ahead of time and a little patience will go a long way toward getting the best results from your favorite contractor.

GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW

Depending on the size of your job there can be a lot to consider when planning a home improvement project. Prior to meeting a contractor, take some time to prepare. This will show the contractor you are serious and ready to proceed and will help you get that much closer to starting your project.

Larger projects may require plans prepared by an architect or designer. You can hire a design-build firm that can take you through the entire process. Alternatively, you can start with an independent architectural designer. Either way, you will need completed building plans to apply for a permit and an idea of finish materials (cabinets, countertops, flooring, fixtures, etc.) for contractors to be able to provide a comprehensive proposal.

The more research you can do in advance, the better. Keep your ideas organized in a paper or electronic folder, or both. Keeping a visual list of your favorite floor plans, finish materials, and colors will help the designer or contractor better understand your preferences and needs.

BUDGET

Decide on a budget before meeting with contractors. You may not know at this point what your dream kitchen would cost, but you likely have a limit as to what you are willing to spend.

Sharing your budget up front will help the contractor or designer steer you in the right direction. If your budget for a kitchen remodel is $50,000, but your tastes reflect a $100,000 remodel, you can spend a lot of time and money on design only to discover you need to revise your plan.

THINK OFF-SEASON

Many trades have a high and low season. Scheduling your projects during the off-season whenever possible is worth considering. Contractors may be more readily available, and you may save some money. Some trades even offer discounts during the off-season. Be sure to ask!

In the Pacific Northwest there are many opportunities throughout fall, winter, and spring where the weather cooperates for these often overlooked ‘seasonal’ projects. Following are a few.

ROOFING

Most roofs can be removed in a matter of hours, promptly followed by the installation of a waterproof felt paper. It usually only requires one reliably dry day for this procedure. The new roofing material can be installed during inclement weather. Most roofs will be completed in less than a week, start to finish.

DECKS & FENCES

Calls for deck and fence repair and new installations peak in spring and summer. Fall is a great time to start talking with these type contractors. They are winding down from summer and welcome your business in winter. Your project could be completed and ready to enjoy come spring and summer.

KITCHEN & BATH REMODELS

Remodeling contractors do not have much down time these days. That said, there is still a spike in spring and a slow-down during the winter months and holidays. This can be a tremendous opportunity to get your remodeling project completed timely and with less competition than the rest of the year.

Remember, a remodel requires some advance planning. If you are close to finalizing your plans, this could be a great time to get on your contractor’s schedule for winter.

Improve Your Home’s Comfort and Efficiency

Home energy audits help you understand how much energy your home uses and identify ways to improve its efficiency. There are many things you can do on your own such as caulk and weather strip around doors and windows or wrap exposed water pipes. But many homes are so inefficient that even after completing the more obvious improvements, there are still many ways to further reduce your home’s energy consumption and increase comfort. Read More >>

COVID-19 and Construction

All residential construction (considered essential, or not) is now permitted in both King and Snohomish counties. Contractors have a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy worksite in accordance with state and federal law and must comply with COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices.

Changing Things Up

STORAGE

Sheltering at home meant stocking up on extra supplies. Everything from non-perishable food items to cleaning supplies overloaded many a kitchen and pantry. If you find yourself dodging rogue rolls of toilet paper (no overstocking shame intended!) every time you open the closet, you may be due for a storage upgrade. Even the novice DIY’er can make simple, yet significant space saving improvements. Read More >>

COVID-19 Update & Essential Services

During the Coronavirus outbreak, we remain open to take your calls and help any way we can. Many of our contacts are deemed ‘essential services’.

Generally, we can help connect you with cleaning/disinfecting services, repairs to plumbing, electrical, and heating/air-conditioning systems, repairs due to water intrusion or leaks, and some exterior cleaning of roofs and gutters. Items that leave your home vulnerable to further degradation if left unchecked are likely considered essential. Read More >>

CAN-Do Checklist, Using This Time Wisely

So much of the current news is full of what we cannot do, and for good reason – it’s working! Let’s not forget there is also plenty that we CAN do. Now, more than ever, we need to remain positive and use this time wisely. Before you know it, we’ll be back to our routines and maybe wishing we had done a bit more with our time while ‘stuck’ at home.

For many, doing our part by staying home provides an opportunity for spring cleaning and de-cluttering. Tackling a spring to-do (or can-do) list can lift spirits, create a fresh space to enjoy, and free up valuable time to enjoy your favorite summer activities (it’s coming!). Read More >>

Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Special Coronavirus Announcement

We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy while navigating through these uncertain times. While our individual circumstances vary, clearly we are all impacted. Let us take comfort knowing that we are all in this together and share many of the same needs and concerns.

Contractor Hotline is available for you throughout this entire process. If you have an urgent home repair need, or simply want to start discussing some longer-range plans, we are here to help. Read More >>

Not-So-Sexy Home Maintenance Must-Do’s

Winter is hard on homes. Spring is fast approaching and the best time to inspect the home’s exterior for damage caused over the winter.

Start with a visual assessment of the full exterior and compile a list of any noticeable damage or areas that need improvement. Pay special attention to the roof and gutters, siding, paint, windows and doors, chimney, the deck or porch, and fences.

Roof & Gutters

The roof and gutters are a home’s first line of defense against the elements. Being proactive about maintaining them will protect your home and help to prevent future costly repairs. Read More >>