By Colin Phalen
Choosing to renovate or build new is a very exciting endeavor and one that should be considered carefully. A renovation or new construction project can be very time consuming and having the right contractor is the most crucial part of the job. Just like any decision, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions.
1. Company History
- · Where did they start?
- · How long have they been around?
- · Will they be around in a few years?
- · How enthusiastic are they with your project?
2. Licensed and Insured
- · Do they have a valid state contractor’s license in your state?
- · Do they have workers compensation and liability insurance?
3. Competitive Pricing
- · Is their pricing in line with other proposals?
- · Is it clear how much you will be spending?
- · How will changes be dealt with?
4. Organization of the Job – Team Approach
- · How do they approach the construction process?
- · What sort of checks and balances do they have in place?
- · Who will be helping you make selections and design decisions?
- · How do the site contractors communicate with the selection suppliers and vendors?
- · Do they have a team approach?
5. Reputation & References
- · Have you spoken to someone who has completed a project with their company?
- · What do the neighbors say about the construction process?
- · Do their employees seem happy?
- · Would their previous clients use them again?
Shop the Look: 37th Street Kitchen
By: Ashley Polo
Each week we receive requests to identify a faucet from a bathroom, a light fixture from the kitchen, the paint color of the front door, and so on. As such, we are starting a new blog segment called “Shop the Look.” This week our look comes from the kitchen from our home on 37th Street in Country Club Hills.
A: Stuart Kitchens Cabinetry - Marion Slab door in Pure White
B: Stuart Kitchens Cabinetry - Morris door, Quartersawn Oak in Bungalow Finish. The “X” detail on the cabinets is a custom detail constructed out of matching trim.
C: Polished White Carrara Marble
E. 3”x6” IC Ultra Brite tile from Mosaic Tile Company
F: 48” all gas Wolf Range and matching Hood.
H: Top Knobs Ray Knob in Polished Chrome
I: Benjamin Moore paint in Monroe Bisque with an Eggshell finish.
J: Top Knobs Cup Pulls in Polished Chrome
K: Virginia Mist Granite with a Honed finish
Let There Be Light - CFLs vs. LEDs
By: Bryan Jackson
If you’re like most people, you have probably been converting to “compact fluorescent light” (CFL) bulbs over the past couple of years. I know I have. In the US, the provisions of 2007’s Energy Independence and Security Act will effectively ban all incandescent bulbs by 2014. The CFL bulb is not your only option now; so, to help you prepare for the switch, here is a quick break down of two replacements for incandescent bulbs in the market place today.
As my old incandescent-o-sorus, dinosaur of a light bulb, dies, I have been replacing it with the highly evolved CFL. I have been doing that for years in an effort to be greener, save money, and save the planet at the same time. The CFL is 4 times more efficient and lasts up to 10 times longer than incandescent. It is more costly up front, however it will save you money in the long run because CFL bulbs use 1/3 the electricity and last up to 10 times longer. I have yet to have a CFL bulb go out in my house; in the past I was losing an incandescent every couple of months. The CFL can be used almost anywhere an incandescent is used, so they are versatile as well.
By: Ashley Polo
We have all heard of the spring market in real estate - the time where home sales typically heat up along with the outside temperature. However, selling your home in the spring market is not always a possibility, so here are some tips for listing your house in the winter months.
1. Take Photographs – Compile a book of photos of your home from various times in the year. Try and get a photo of the home from the spring time so potential homebuyers can see what the house looks like with landscaping and greenery.
2. Keep Up with the Elements – Make sure you shovel or plow the driveway, front walkway, back walkway, and any other areas where there may be foot traffic. It is important for safety reasons, but it is also critical to make your home appear as low maintenance as possible.
3. Stay Warm – Make sure that the home is always at a comfortable temperature. Even if you plan on going away for a weekend, keep the heat on and at a reasonable temperature so any potential homebuyers are comfortable in your home. The more comfortable they are the more likely they will stay longer.
4. Consult a Real Estate Professional – Make sure you consult with a licensed real estate professional before putting your home on the market. He/she can help with staging and provide other tips for selling your home!