Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews & Market News!: September 2010

Your Resource for Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest & Surrounding Areas!

Why you should Upgrade you Existing Home Now & 10 Tips for Hiring a Home Remodeling Contractor

Now is a great time to consider Home Improvements.  In the NC Triangle, we're predicted to be one of the fastest growing areas in the US.  Although, we're not recession proof, we do have some areas appreciating.  Some sellers may wonder why their home isn't selling if their area is appreciating and their neighbors home sold.  There are obviously a variety of reasons.  However, we do know there are many homes built in the 1980's and 1990's that need to be updraded.  If you're ond of those people, you may want to consider upgrading and/or updating.   Ask your Professional Realtor what updates are worth the investment.

paint sample clip art

If you're not selling your home right now but, know you need to update before you do, now is a great time and here's why:

  • Prices for many project materials are lower than ever.  Take granite for example, you can put granite counters in your kitchen and bath for a very low rate.
  • Contractors, Handyman, and Builders need to work.  Not only are you helping others put food on the table and supporting the economy, you're likely to pay a lot less for labor than you would have just a few years ago.
  • You never know when you're going to "have" to move, find a great deal, or find your dream home.  Take care of those little upgrades now so you're not stressed about it when time comes to sell.
  • You can enjoy the upgrades yourself so you don't feel as if you're making them for someone else to enjoy.  How many times do sellers say "I wish I had done this before now?"

Keep in mind, some upgrades/updates are better than others.  Before you spend money and make a lot of changes, consider this:

  • Are these upgrades for your pure enjoyment without expecting a return on your investment?
  • Are the upgrades Eco Friendly? Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
  • Will the upgrades I'm makeing help me sell my house quicker or actually give me a return for my dollar?  Traditionally, kitchens give the biggest return with bathrooms a close 2nd. 
  • Are the upgrades/updates/remodeling I'm making in line with my neighborhood or area?  You can over-do the upgrades which most likely will not yield a return.

updated kitchen photo

If ever in doubt, contact your professional Realtor.  They work with Buyers all the time and stay educated on the latest trends and can help you determine what's important and what your chances are of getting a return on your dollar.  If they don't know, perhaps they can do an opinion poll of other Realtors or contact their local appraiser.  Please keep in mind, Realtors do not predict the future, they can only give their opinion of what's happing at the moment.  Your Realtor may also be prepared to send you contacts for professional vendors/service providers in your area with a good business reputation. 

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Related Articles: 

Cary, NC Some of the Fastest Growing Companies in America

Thanks to Lowes Home Improvement for this great article:

10 Tips for Hiring a Home Remodeling Contractor

 

RISMEDIA, September 3, 2010-- With the U.S. economy facing the lowest home sale statistics in fifteen years and home values continuing to slide in many regions, it's not surprising to hear that housing trends point towards a large percentage of American homeowners looking to improve and maximize their existing property investment versus buying a new home. When deciding to undertake a remodeling project however, there are several invaluable tips to keep in mind as you discuss your home make-over with potential contractors.

Through advice and stories shared by both contractors and consumers, StageofLife.com, a blogging resource for homeowners, discovered 10 important tips on how to find a trustworthy home remodeling contractor to help ensure the right person or company is hired for your next home improvement project.

Tip #1: Does Your Contractor Have Proof of Insurance?
Ask the contractor to have his insurance company mail or fax a copy of his current contractor insurance card to you. If the contractor can't do this - stay away. Why? If there is an accident at your home, you are then liable. This also applies to any sub-contractor or employee that the contractor may use - those individuals should have active insurance cards faxed or mailed to you as well.

Tip #2: Did You Check References and See Photos?
Ask for at least three references - with two of them being for the same type of project you are planning - and then call the references. Additionally, ask the contractor to provide photos of previous work, especially for the same type of project. If he produces lawn and garden photos and you're planning a bathroom remodel, you may want to check out another contractor.

Tip #3: Does Your Contractor Take Debit or Credit Cards?

Besides your ability to earn a few points, bonus miles, or cash back on your project, a good sign that a contractor is financially savvy and has a bank behind his business is his ability to take debit and credit cards. This doesn't just apply to big contracting companies. Many small, one-man shops will take cards if they have a good relationship with their business bank or credit union.

Tip #4: Manners and Appearance?
If the contractor drove his vehicle to your home to give you an estimate, take a look at the way he keeps the equipment and vehicle. Are things clean? Neatly arranged? If not - that's a big warning. The way a contractor treats his tools is a direct connection to how he'll treat your home. During the initial meeting, does the contractor present himself in a professional way? Do you feel comfortable around him or his employees? They will be working in your home after all.

Tip #5: Clean Up Policy?
Ask about the clean-up policy. For example, if your home improvement is a multi-day project, will the contractor be cleaning up at the end of every day or will he leave the dust, wood chips, and other mess laying there for day #2? The more mess in your home - the more it gets tracked around. Many homeowners find themselves with mouths gaping wide after the contractor has left for the day and their floors and home are dirty and messy around the project area.

Tip #6: Will the Contractor Put It In Writing?
Is your contractor willing to put both his bid and the scope of work in writing? If not - walk away immediately. You'll be surprised how many homeowners have been duped by contractors who verbally tell you what's included in their scope of work, but will then, in the middle of everything, require extra money to finish the remodel, thus holding you hostage with an uncompleted home project.

Tip #7: Availability?
Can the contractor get the job done in your timeline rather than his timeline? There's nothing more frustrating than if a contractor tells you that a job will be done by a certain date and then it isn't . On the flip side, if you can't find a good contractor that's willing to commit to your timeline, your expectations may be too high and you may need to adjust your timeline.

Tip #8: Does Your Contractor Use "Subs?"
Does your contractor plan on doing everything himself? Or will he "sub out" work to the "trades?" For example, if you are remodeling a bathroom, you may need a plumber, electrician, and carpenter. It's okay if the contractor subs work out to these specific trades - it shows he wants the work done right.

Also, it's fair to say that you can expect your contractor to make money off the trades, or other sub-contractors, by marking up those quotes for the project. That is a standard practice to help the general contractor recover costs in the time it takes to manage the schedule. If you don't want to spend the extra money on your contractor marking up the trade quotes, then you should prepare to project manage the remodel yourself, but know this may limit your options on contractors willing to work with you.

Tip #9: Quoting & Billing Procedure?

Ask the contractor about his quoting procedure. Will it contain general information, or will it be specific? For example - most contractors will charge you for a fuel surcharge, material up-charges, waste removal, labor, etc. Some will show you these exact costs in a line item invoice, but others roll it up into one big bill. How much detail do you want? You should clarify that with your contractor upfront.

Also - what is the payment or billing policy? Is money required upfront? If so, go back to #1 and #2 above to make sure you have the contractor's references checked and have a copy of his contractor's insurance.

Tip #10: Did Your Contractor Get the Permits?
Ask your contractor to take care of the permits. Although permits cost you money, the inspection process is meant to protect you from poor workmanship and to make sure that everything is being built to code.

By following these 10 tips for hiring a home contractor, you'll feel more confident that you've found the right contractor for your remodeling job.

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Contact Carla Freund, Broker, Fonville Morisey Realty/ A Long and Foster Company,  Licensed Realtor® in North Carolina at 919-602-8489 to list your property for sale or to purchase a property in Cary, Raleigh, Morrisville, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Chapel Hill, Johnston County, and the surrounding areas.

Now accepting referrals.  **Not meant as a solicitation to individuals already working with a Professional Real Estate Agent.**

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice. The Carolina Living in the Triangle Blog and Carla Freund does not guarantee or is any way responsible for its accuracy, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. Entries on Carolina Living in the Triangle represent the opinions and ideas of the author(s). Carolina Living in the Triangle Blog does not express the views of Fonville Morisey, Inc or those of the broker

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Contact Carla Freund, Broker, Keller Williams Preferred Realty,  Licensed Realtor® in North Carolina at 919-602-8489 to list your property for sale or to purchase a property in Cary, Raleigh, Morrisville, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Pittsboro, Durham, Chapel Hill, Johnston County, and the surrounding areas.

Now accepting referrals.**Not meant as a solicitation to individuals already working with a Professional Real Estate Agent.**

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice. The Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews Blog, Keller Williams and Carla Freund does not guarantee or is any way responsible for its accuracy, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. Entries on Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews represent the opinions and ideas of the author(s). Raleigh - Cary Home Reviews Blog does not express the views of Keller Williams, or those of the broker.

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Comment balloon 2 commentsCarla Freund • September 03 2010 08:25AM
Why you should Upgrade you Existing Home Now & 10 Tips for Hiring…
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Now is a great time to consider Home Improvements. In the NC Triangle, we're predicted to be one of the fastest growing areas in the US. Although, we're not recession proof, we do have some areas appreciating. Some sellers may wonder why their… more
Finally Some Good Housing News!
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