Advanced Builders & Contractors Blog

4 Tips For Making an Offer on a New Construction Home (And How Your Agent Can Help!)

May 26th, 2022

It’s a myth that you should just go straight to a builder, no agent needed, when it comes to buying a new construction home. Certainly, you may have circumstances that make a no-agent deal possible, but first-timers in the new construction market will find that an agent still helps them navigate the process, paperwork, and negotiation much easier than going it alone. Here are some ways you can make an offer on a new construction home that you’re excited about. 

Find Someone With Strong New Construction Background

Real estate agents have areas of expertise, and if you review and discover that one of your options for a realtor has a lot of experience brokering deals for new construction, that is a person to consider seriously. They will have a better understanding of the builders in your area and any ways that they tend to go through the process that you should be aware of, such as upselling with upgrades or changes to timelines. 

Research Extensively To Really Know Your Options

Speaking of which, even a great real estate agent isn’t a replacement for looking into the available builders and developments. Most builders who have been around for a while now have a reputation of some kind, whether it is that their homes stand the test of time or that they have issues early on in the lives of the new construction. This research is key before making an offer: not all new construction is created equal even if it is new, so make sure you’re placing an offer where you’ll truly be satisfied.

Even if Prices Are Set, Upgrades or Waivers Should Be Considered

While most builders in an intense sellers market aren’t offering incentives, it doesn’t hurt to talk through with your agent and the builder about any potential incentives. Their prices are likely to be firm, but adding upgrades or waiving particular fees, such as the first year of the HOA dues, may be on the table if they are eager to finish up selling part of a particular development. Don’t expect these options every time, but there’s little to be lost by checking.

Get Timing and Other Contract Information in Writing 

While delays are often possible in the creation of new construction homes, the more information you can get in writing, the better, because it allows you to make it clear that you mean business if there are delays that weren’t accounted for in the written contract. Make time for the builder to sit down and really explain what and how you are committing to the process, including details for the walk through, before you make your offer. This information is key for you because it is much harder to get a builder to come back in and make repairs after you’ve already purchased the home. Instead, get a clear vision for when you need to make note of any construction defects so that they can make modifications before the ink is dry on your final contract!

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Shower Types to Consider for Your New Bathroom

May 23rd, 2022

glass-door-shower-bathroom-remodelWhen you’re looking into bathroom remodeling in Beverly Hills, CA, one of the most exciting parts of the process is deciding on the new shower you want. If you have an older bathroom, it may contain a tired older tub-and-shower combination. Replacing it with a modern shower with a more open look and attractive tiles, stones, and other materials will bring the new space to life—and it will make any time you spend in the shower easier and more enjoyable. 

Choosing a new shower requires balancing different factors, such as your budget and the size available to you for the remodel. Below are the most common types of new showers that people have installed for remodels.

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Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season with These Great Tips

May 18th, 2022

Everyone should try to prepare in advance for any big storm that might eventually make landfall. A plan lays out what needs to be done and avoids the frantic rush to figure things out at the last minute. While most of the population searches for plywood to board up windows and depletes the shelves of neighborhood grocery shops, your pre-fitted plywood shutters emerge from the garage and are promptly installed. And your already stored week’s supply of food and water will get a family through most crises.

Plan for Extended Power Outages

A wise investment in the event of prolonged power outages is a high-quality whole-home generator that can run on your home’s natural gas or liquid propane line and will automatically start up during a power loss. Although they may be pricey, they quickly pay for themselves in terms of money saved by keeping your refrigerator operating, preventing mildew caused by the lack of air conditioning, or avoiding the expense of staying in a hotel while your property is unlivable.

If you decide to purchase a smaller generator, consider the most critical items you’ll need to power during a storm. Assure that you have enough gas securely stored to power the generator for a few days.

Additionally, you may consider purchasing a surge protection device for your complete electrical system.

Conduct an Insurance Coverage Audit

This hurricane season insurance checklist will assist you in understanding your coverage and determining if it is sufficient to repair or rebuild your house and replace your goods if required.

Remember that your homeowners’ insurance covers temporary repairs caused by hurricanes and reasonable additional living costs over and above your usual living expenditures if you are forced to move.

However, since your homeowners’ policy does not cover flood damage, you may choose to investigate flood insurance. If you reside near the shore, you may also need a second insurance policy to cover damage caused by wind and wind-blown water damage.

If you have any concerns regarding the coverage provided by your existing policy or want to supplement it, contact your insurance expert.

Make Use of a Flood Barrier

A flood barrier is a detachable piece used to deflect or contain floods. Its principal function is to safeguard a residence or business from flooding by avoiding damage or blockage during floods.

Flooding may occur suddenly and unexpectedly. With a severe hurricane season expected, you must have the tools necessary to prepare. Flood protection barriers might assist you in warding off currents of water which will ultimately save most of your property.

Safeguard Loose or Heavy Outdoor Items

If possible, oversized and heavy things should be carried within the garage or to higher ground.

High winds can blow essential things around, causing them to collide with your air conditioning unit or other components of your house.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your air conditioning unit. Ascertain that the condenser is securely fastened to the concrete slab outside your house and that nothing could collide with the unit during severe winds.

Ensure that Your Doors and Windows are Secure

During heavy winds, doors and windows are more susceptible to damage than other property sections. Flying projectiles, such as patio furniture or fallen tree branches, are a frequent source of harm.

Installing storm shutters before the start of hurricane season is one of the most efficient strategies to limit the risk of storm damage to doors and windows. If storm shutters are out of your budget, covering your windows and doors with sheets of plywood before a hurricane may assist in sealing these susceptible places.

Check to See if Your Roof is Secure and Well-Sealed

Roof damage is typical during hurricanes since they expose roofs to the storm’s strong wind and pounding rain. Following a storm, you may discover that shingles or decking are missing from your top. You may see leaks inside your house or a sagging roof.

Conclusion

Water may wreak havoc on your roof’s structure, increasing the likelihood of a leak or roof collapse. Has your roof been examined before the start of hurricane season? You may want to consider installing truss tie-downs, commonly known as hurricane straps, to help protect your roof from severe winds.

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Floor Material for Home Remodeling

May 9th, 2022

If you’re looking at home remodeling in Los Angeles, CA, one of the major changes you’re likely considering making is changing the flooring. And when it comes to whole-house flooring, you’ll have a lot of options to consider, and you will likely want different types of flooring for different rooms, such as one type for the living spaces and another for the kitchen and the bathrooms. 

The different materials available for flooring in a house remodel can feel overwhelming, and all have a range of pros and cons and prices to consider. We can’t give you an exhaustive guide in a blog post, but we can look over some of the most popular choices and trends in current home remodeling. The best way to find the right new floors for your home remodel is to work with our team of professional designers and builders. We’ll see you have the best possible outcome for your project that stays within your budget.

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6 Reasons Why Kitchen Remodels Are Popular

April 25th, 2022

perfect lighting kitchenWhen it comes to remodeling a room in a house, the kitchen is the reigning king. It’s the most common room to receive extensive remodeling. Even today, when many homeowners focus on remodeling to help facilitate new work-from-home schedules, the kitchen remains the principal focus of remodeling projects. You can find thousands of articles online looking over gorgeous kitchen redesigns and innovative ideas.

We handle kitchen remodeling in Los Angeles, CA and understand why so many homeowners opt to revamp this specific room. Here are the main reasons so many people choose to make this remodeling investment, and why you may want our professional designers and builders to give your kitchen a full make-over.

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Building an ADU? Here’s What You Should Know First

April 12th, 2022

When you were little, you probably had a playhouse or fort in the backyard where you could escape. This hideaway symbolized a world away from everyday life, a secret place where you could imagine anything. If your friends were trustworthy, you might have shared it with them.

There’s an adult replacement for this childhood escape, and it’s called an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU. ADUs are designed to meet specific needs. For example, these buildings can be home offices, granny flats, home gyms, and even rental units.

Regulations concerning these accessory units vary by state and municipality. Before you get excited about adding value to your property with an ADU, it’s essential to crunch the numbers and talk with experts to understand every aspect of the project.

Although ADUs are small, building one can be as complex and expensive as constructing your primary home. Local regulations may restrict what you can do and make it challenging to reach your goals.

Still interested? Here are five things you need to know before you start building an ADU.

1.   Have a Reason

Every decision you make about building an ADU should stem from how you intend to use the space. Before you start looking at designs and talking to contractors, take some time to think through how an ADU would change your life.

For example, many remote workers would love to have a home office on their property. Artists may want a space to create and store their work, and small business owners can benefit from setting up shop in their own yard.

If you want proximity to – but privacy from – family members, an ADU may be the perfect solution. These structures are sometimes called “granny flats” because many families build them for relatives. Other property owners see ADUs as an opportunity for revenue and construct them as rentals.

Based on your goals, the cost and legal requirements for building an ADU will vary. For example, a home office may not need plumbing – but a rental definitely will. When you know the value an ADU will bring, you can invest the right amount of money and time into it.

2.   Start With Local Laws

After you’ve decided why you’re building, the next step is to do thorough research on building regulations in your area. Unfortunately, there’s no single website or source that can untangle the legal requirements for building an ADU. That’s because every state and every city has different requirements and they’re changing all the time.

Zoning laws and restrictions on ADUs were originally intended to reduce illegal rentals. This protected unsuspecting renters and kept buildings safe. Unfortunately, regulations also made it challenging for some residents to construct accessory units at all.

Thankfully, many cities have changed their regulations over the last several years to allow ADUs. Before you invest in an ADU, you need to investigate your local requirements. You can start by contacting your local representative who specializes in zoning and ADUs.

Connecting with this person is essential for your success. They can educate you on permits, building codes, and local regulations so your ADU is built legally and you won’t face fines after construction. However, it’s important to always remember that the ultimate responsibility to understand and follow the law falls on you.

3.   Find Reliable Experts

Once you’ve connected with local authorities, it’s time to build the rest of your team. Ideally, you should hire a local ADU specialist who can help you find the ideal solution for your goals in your area. These specialists steep themselves in local laws and have experience helping many different clients.

Depending on the project, you may also want to talk to an architect. In order to construct more complex ADUs, like rentals, working with an architect may be a legal requirement. If you’re concerned about the legal aspect of building an ADU, you can also contact a lawyer. Because cost is a huge part of planning, you can also consider talking to a financial advisor.

Once you’ve completed the initial prep stages, it’s time to talk to contractors. You should speak with several so that you can compare quotes and services. An experienced, trustworthy contractor should be able to give you references and agree to put everything in writing so it’s legally binding.

If you choose to work with an ADU company, you may still want to hire specialists to oversee the things you care about most. Some companies that specialize in ADUs have a set of contractors on staff, while others serve as a liaison between you and various specialists.

4.   Consider Your Options

Once you’ve talked to various specialists, you should have enough information to start planning the best physical structure for an ADU that meets your goals. You want to follow legal requirements, stay within your budget, and create a functional space that exceeds your expectations.

This phase consists of using your imagination in combination with hard-and-fast rules. For example, zoning laws and building codes give you parameters that can help you plan for an efficient and cost-effective space. Once you know these boundaries, you’re equipped to find the best solution for you.

For example, you probably don’t need a bathroom or running water in a home office. Depending on the building laws in your area, you may be able to save significantly by scaling this space down and reducing utilities. A smaller building means a smaller foundation, fewer materials, and different regulations.

Talking with experts can help you determine the best way to reach your goals. It’s important to be flexible during this stage. To build an affordable and legal ADU on your property, you may need to let go of any preconceived vision of what it will look like. There are many creative ways to reach your goals without copying what other people have done.

5.   Count the Cost

Although ADUs are small, they can become costly very quickly. In Oregon, the cost of building an ADU can range between $40,000 and $90,000. Depending on where you live, the cost may be more or less expensive. Initial expenses include hiring contractors and specialists and paying for building permits.

During construction, you’ll need to finance building materials and pay all your workers. While it may be tempting to cut corners, this usually leads to more expenses down the road. For instance, choosing an inexpensive foundation could lead to disaster later if it’s unable to support the finished structure.

Investing in quality materials and experienced workers will pay off over the long run. Of course, if adding an ADU to your property increases its value, it will also increase your property taxes. There may be additional taxes or paperwork associated with a rental or home business. Your ADU will also require upkeep and repairs over time.

It can be easy to become emotionally attached to the idea of an ADU and think you’ll worry about the cost later. However, the best plan of action is to rely on hard numbers and calculate everything thoroughly before you begin. That way, you’re free to enjoy the process with a much lower risk of failure.

Is an ADU Right for You?

Accessory dwelling units can increase your available living space, provide a home for elderly family members, and bring you revenue through renting. They can add value to your life by increasing your opportunities and raising the worth of your property.

However, there are legal and financial restrictions to consider before you plunge into this project. In most cases, shortcuts to completing these projects will lead to problems later – ranging from building fines to structural collapse.

Before you start building, it’s essential that you investigate local laws about ADUs and speak with experts. Most of the time and effort spent on your ADU should happen during the planning phase rather than the building phase.

Once you understand these requirements and boundaries, you’ll be able to construct an ADU that fits your budget and achieves your goals. The best way to streamline this entire process is to keep your personal reason for building an ADU in the forefront of your mind – it will guide you every step of the way.

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How to Decrease the Cost of Home Renovations the Smart Way

April 12th, 2022

Renovations enhance your home’s style and function. There are many ways to update your space, from a bathroom to a kitchen remodel. Outdoor upgrades like adding a porch also increase your home’s curb appeal.

However, these projects can be costly. In fact, the average large-scale remodel can cost between $19,800 and $73,200. So, here are tips to decrease your budget the right way.

1. Do Some of the Demo Work

If you have the time and resources, then do the demolition yourself. This saves you money by not having to hire a contractor. In fact, demolitions can start at around $4,000. Plus, knocking down walls is fun to let out your stress.

Just wear safety goggles and protective gear and don’t remove any load-bearing walls. In addition, be mindful of where the electrical and plumbing systems are located.

2. Create a Budget

Before you start the renovation, determine your budget. Research average remodel prices for your specific project. Also, you want to factor in labor and material expenses.

Another cost you may need to account for is hotel fees. If your home becomes a construction zone, you won’t want to be living there full-time. Plus, if your kitchen becomes off-limits, budget for dining out expenses. Here are a few more costs to keep in mind:

  • Obtaining permits
  • Installing appliances
  • Updating plumbing and wiring
  • Cleanup expenses
  • Dumpster fees

Set aside extra money for emergencies once you have your budget. You never know when an unexpected problem could arise, such as a leaky pipe.

3. Refinish Floors

Instead of replacing your floors, refinish them. It could be around $2,000-$7,700 to install new hardwood flooring. Keep in mind that the price includes labor and materials. So, a simple refinish can save money and give your floors an updated appearance.

Before you start, wash the surface with hardwood cleaner and sand the room’s perimeter. Then, follow these steps:

  • Scuff and sand the floor
  • Vacuum and tack
  • Cut in along the edges
  • Pour the finish and roll it out

4. Secure Proper Financing

With the high costs of renovations, you don’t want to deplete your savings account. Luckily, there are plenty of financing options out there. One is a home equity line of credit. These types of loans use your home equity as collateral. The credit can help pay for a larger purchase, such as new flooring or countertops.

Here are a few more ways to finance the project:

  • Save up over time
  • Use home improvement loans
  • Apply for a home equity loan
  • Use a cash-out refinance
  • Government loans, such as HUD Title 1 property improvement loans

5. Have a Detailed Plan in Place

You want to have a vision for the space before you start knocking down any walls. It will help you to stay on budget and prevent impulse purchases.

First, determine the scope of the project. For example, what is the goal and timeline for the renovation? You also want to come up with a design theme so you can pick decor that fits the room well.

In addition, know what items you’re willing to splurge on and where you can compromise. For example, you may splurge on a tile backsplash but simply repaint the cabinets. Consider drawing out your vision board to reference it throughout the project.

6. Obtain Necessary Permits

With all the moving parts of a remodel, you may forget to obtain permits. However, this can be costly down the line. Building inspectors may have you start the project over if your house isn’t up to code. Another thing to consider is that you may pay fines or could have a harder time selling your home.

To learn whether you need a permit, call your local municipality or visit their website. If you hire a contractor, they should know which ones are necessary. Projects needing a permit often involve electrical work or any structural changes.

7. Repurpose Items

Before throwing everything away during demolition, save certain items, like cabinets or windows. You can always repaint and update hardware to refresh your shelves, too. This reduces costs and is better for the environment.

Also, before heading to the store, “shop around” your own home. For example, do you have an unused bedroom bookcase you could move to the living room? Check out thrift shops and architectural salvage stores for second-hand items.

Once you order your supplies, save on delivery fees and pick up items yourself. You can rent trucks from home improvement stores or find a trailer online.

8. Do the Painting Yourself

A new coat of paint can freshen up walls and cabinets. It’s an excellent way to give your space some personality. Neutral tones, blues, and greens are all popular color options for homeowners. Plus, painting is a cost-effective and straightforward DIY task.

However, try out a paint sample or two before going all out. It can save you time and money if it doesn’t look like you envisioned. Also, do the prep work properly before painting. Fill and lightly sand any cracked or flaking areas and wash any greasy spots thoroughly with soap.

9. Increase the Space’s Function

You may assume a bigger space is more efficient, but that’s not always the case. Additions can be costly – so instead of changing the current layout, just make it more functional.

For example, you can add cabinet-height pullout drawers in the kitchen. These can increase storage space and take up less room than bulkier shelves. You can also add racks and dividers to organize the drawers better.

Another idea is to add built-in bookshelves in the living room. These can display items like family photos or other decor. It can also hold everyday items, such as remotes or children’s toys. You can even have built-in storage underneath your stairs to keep things hidden.

10. Be Creative With Finding Ways to Bring in Natural Light

Natural light can brighten up a room and boost your mood. The first solution to bring in more light is to add larger windows. Although, this can be expensive and time-consuming. Instead, consider installing a light tube in your hallway or bathroom.

They capture daylight and spread it throughout your home, lowering your electricity bills. You can place them between roof rafters without harming the awning’s structural integrity. Also, hang more mirrors and paint with lighter colors to reflect more sunlight.

How to Save Money on Home Renovations

Making upgrades to your home is a rewarding experience that can increase its value. Oftentimes, though, money can be a concern. So, follow these tips to reduce your budget during your next renovation. You’ll enjoy the result even more knowing you made it happen yourself, or for pennies on the dollar.

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6 Renovations to Help Give You a Carbon-Neutral Home

April 12th, 2022

Our homes are meant to be a sanctuary of safety and comfort. However, whether we live in an existing structure or are building a home from the ground up, it’s essential to consider how our house impacts our neighborhood, community, and the environment.

In 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that residential energy accounted for 22% of all energy consumption in the United States. Additionally, the average American homeowner spends about $1,400 annually on energy bills.

Thankfully, there are several ways you can make your home more carbon-neutral and decrease the amount of energy your house requires while reducing your utility costs. Here are six renovations that will help you achieve greater sustainability, regardless of whether you’re building new construction or remodeling an older house.

1.   Airtight Insulation

Air may leak through your home when you have poor insulation or old windows, causing your heating and air conditioning systems to overcompensate and increase energy expenses.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can save about 15% on heating and cooling costs when you seal your home correctly. This could include adding insulation to your attic or basement and installing airtight windows.

Insulating your home doesn’t just help you save energy and money, though. It can also improve your comfort levels during the hottest summer months or when the temperatures drop below freezing in the winter.

This particular carbon-neutral renovation does come with a hefty price tag. On average, it may cost between $3,000 and $7,000 to insulate your home, starting on the exterior siding and walls, ceilings, attic, crawl spaces, and basement. You could even spend upwards of $30,000 to insulate a 2,500-square-foot house on the high end.

However, proper insulation can help reduce exterior noise pollution, prevent allergens and pests from entering your house, and control humidity levels.

2.   Energy-Saving Lighting

Not every carbon-neutral renovation has to be an enormous undertaking. Sometimes minor changes make a huge difference in living greener. For example, rethinking your lighting situation can save a lot of energy and money in the long run.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs can produce 90% more efficient lighting than traditional incandescent lighting. LEDs also do not burn out like their less-efficient counterparts; they simply grow dimmer, slowly, over time.

Solar LED lighting may be another option for creating carbon neutrality outside your home. Light up your garden beds, walkways, and driveway with solar lights that absorb energy during the daytime sun to shine brightly at night.

Homeowners use their home’s lighting features frequently. By retrofitting your lighting system for energy efficiency, you can dramatically reduce your energy consumption and maintenance, lessen electricity demand, and lower your operating costs. You’ll also benefit from improved lumination and light distribution, and a lower carbon footprint overall.

3.   Energy-Efficient Appliances

Creating a carbon-neutral home is more than just swapping out lightbulbs and filling in air leaks. Check out your appliances. If your refrigerator and stovetop are as old as your historic house, it may be time to purchase a newer model.

Today’s appliances – dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, stovetops, ovens, microwaves – are built for energy efficiency and can reduce your utility bills.

In addition to saving you more energy, updating your home’s appliances can help you conserve resources like water, oil, and natural gas. Energy-efficient appliances will also reduce your home’s air pollution, making it more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy-efficient appliances can accrue the following savings on your electricity bills and energy per year throughout their product lifetimes:

  • Clothes dryer: 20% less in energy requirements with savings of $210
  • Clothes washer: 40-50% less electricity, 55% less water with savings of $50
  • Refrigerator: 40% less energy consumption than refrigerators sold in 2001
  • Dishwasher: 12% more energy-efficient with savings of $25

The life expectancy of most energy-efficient appliances is between 10 and 20 years, so savings have the potential to add up significantly.

4.   Upgraded HVAC Systems

Imagine it’s the hottest day of August and your old air conditioner breaks. Considering the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you produce from cooling your house, a faulty AC unit can waste energy, emit harmful pollutants, and cost you more money.

Upgrading your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can significantly improve your quality of life and your home’s energy efficiency. The Energy Information Administration estimates that cooling accounts for 16% of energy consumption in residential buildings.

Modern HVAC systems integrate smart technologies to improve your energy consumption. For example, smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home more efficiently while also isolating certain cooling and heating outputs within specific rooms.

The average cost to replace your HVAC system is between $5,000 and $11,000, depending on how big your house is, the labor, unit size, and the brand.

5.   Update the Plumbing

Plumbing is also a major consumer of energy and water in the home. If you live in an older structure, you might consider updating your plumbing fixtures – including faucets, showerheads, and toilets – to conserve water and improve efficiency.

Your house could leak about 10,000 gallons of water annually from broken toilet flappers, leaky valves, and dripping faucets. As far as renovations go, these are relatively easy fixes that don’t cost a lot of money and can save you nearly 10% on your water bills.

Replacing the toilets in your bathrooms can also help conserve a lot of water. Older models usually use 6 gallons of water per flush; however, new toilets only use about 1.28 gallons. Considering toilets account for 30% of a household’s water usage, water conservation is quite impressive with updated products.

6.   Renewable Energy

Some homeowners may decide to go off the electrical grid by installing a solar panel, wind turbine, or hybrid system on their roof.

It usually costs about $20,000 to install solar panels in the U.S.; however, several tax incentives and rebates are available that could potentially lower the overall cost.

There are many environmental, energy, and cost benefits of switching to residential renewable power. Depending on where you live, installing solar panels could increase your home value significantly. In states like New Jersey, North Carolina, Hawaii, Florida, and Maryland, homes usually hit the market for 4.1% more than listings without solar.

Considering the productivity lifespan of solar panels is estimated to be about 25 years, average electricity savings of $1,500 annually adds up nicely. Additionally, solar generation will significantly reduce your house’s greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.

Energy-Efficiency for Carbon-Neutral Living

Retrofitting your home for carbon neutrality has many advantages, from being more environmentally friendly to bringing substantial savings on utility bills. It’s also a feasible remodeling project that doesn’t have to break the bank. Transitioning to cleaner appliances, lighting, plumbing, and insulation can be done one step at a time. Thanks to various incentives, these renovations are also more cost-effective than you think.

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10 Ways You Should Be Maintaining Your Home’s Exterior

April 12th, 2022

Imagine driving past a home that’s covered in dust. The windows are cloudy with grime and the home’s exterior is cracking in several places. You can tell the yard’s been neglected and the walkway is crumbling. Would you want to live here?

Although we all admire the modern landscaping showcased on TV, it can be challenging to maintain your home in everyday life. However, your home’s curb appeal is important. It communicates a sense of order and welcomes everyone who steps onto your property.

Maintaining your home’s exterior takes some effort, but it’s well worth the time and energy. Scheduling tasks throughout the year can make this job more manageable. Here are 10 ways you can work to maintain your home’s exterior.

1.   Pick Up the Yard

Over time, random debris can make its way into your yard. Items can include litter carried by the wind, forgotten tools, and playground equipment your kids have aged out of. You may need to remove dead plants, fallen branches, or other natural debris as well.

Once a year, it’s a good idea to do a sweep of your yard to find things that don’t belong. Removing this debris will tidy your yard and give you a clearer picture of what needs to be done with your landscaping.

2.   Amp Up Your Plants

Thoughtful landscaping can reduce the amount of time you spend on yard maintenance. For example, a rock garden with cacti requires little water and will look pristine for years. In contrast, planting a lawn may mean thousands of dollars in maintenance.

Take a good look at your home and consider the landscaping you currently have. What’s one thing you could change for an improved look and easier yard maintenance?

3.   Clean Your Pool

If you have a swimming pool, there are several steps you can take throughout the year to make sure it’s clean and protected from the elements. During the fall and winter, you should keep your pool covered to keep debris at bay.

A pool cover in summer can reduce the amount of water you lose through evaporation. In addition to a cover, you should also invest in an underwater vacuum. You can test your water before swimming season to ensure the chemical balance is optimal for your health.

4.   Repair the Walkway

One of the most impactful ways to improve curb appeal is to refresh the walkway leading to your front door. Your walkway creates a line of sight from the street to your front door. A cracked or broken walkway makes your property look uncared for.

You can either repair your walkway or replace it with a different option. Concrete walkways last a long time, but stepping stones can add character to your yard. You can also choose gravel or loose stone for a more natural feel.

5.   Update the Garage Door

Experts estimate that improving your home’s curb appeal can increase the value of your home by up to 12%. Maintaining your garage doors is another important way to care for your home’s exterior. Once a year, this element of your home should be oiled and checked for repairs.

If your garage door isn’t a winning feature of your home, consider replacing it. There are many beautiful options that can enhance the overall style of your home, bringing out new colors and architectural lines. In addition, the return on investment is high for this home element.

6.   Look at Exterior Wood

If you have any wooden elements on your home’s exterior, it’s important to ensure they’re still sealed from the elements. Peeling paint or soft spots can lead to more serious damage and require expensive replacements later.

Look over your porch and any wooden window frames or trim. If your cladding is wood, inspect that as well. The sooner you repair any issues, the less expensive and extensive your repairs will be.

7.   Wipe Off Windows

Cleaning your windows increases shine and visibility from inside your home. It gives your exterior a sense of being cared for throughout the seasons by reducing dust and grime. You can wash the outside of your windows with a vinegar and water solution.

To reach second-story windows, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Every year, around 500,000 people fall off ladders in the U.S. and end up in the emergency room. Shiny windows aren’t worth months of pain!

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The Best Springtime Renovations to Prep Your Home for the Warm Weather

April 12th, 2022

Winter and early spring have pleasant temperatures in the Los Angeles area, but things start to heat up once April comes around. You need to prepare your home for the heat waves and droughts that are just around the corner. Here are the best springtime renovations to prep your home for the warm weather of California summers.

1.   Deck/Porch Remodel

Almost every day is a lovely day in Los Angeles, but people still tend to get more active and attend more social gatherings in the summer. With that in mind, the most logical place to begin your renovations is your deck or porch. It will likely get more usage in the spring and summer, so you need to make preparations now. Here are some things you can do:

  • Paint the wood a lighter color so it doesn’t overheat.
  • Stain the deck to protect it from the elements.
  • Install screens/barriers to shade the deck and give it more privacy.
  • Change the deck/porch’s doorway to a sliding glass door (if feasible) to minimize cold air escaping your home.
  • Add sprawling furniture so guests have room to lounge in the summer heat.

You want your deck to have plenty of space and amenities for people to relax but also enough protective measures to prevent overheating. These changes will keep your outdoor hangout space cool and comfortable in the warmer months.

2.   Gazebo Construction

Gazebos, pavilions, and other outdoor entertainment structures can provide another layer of protection from hot weather. It doesn’t have to be a fancy structure with lights, a fire pit, and other features. A simple gazebo with ample space can become your backyard’s new centerpiece and a comfortable refuge from the California heat.

Gazebos also provide great flexibility for customization. You can make it a lounging area with long, booth-like seating. You can install a small grill or cooking area to create an outdoor kitchen. Some people use their gazebo as a simple overhead covering for their deck or patio. The shape and function are entirely up to you.

The only necessary feature is a reliable and robust roof. Sheet metal or asphalt shingles are the most popular choices for homeowners because they hold up well in all weather conditions.

3.   Swimming Pool

A swimming pool is often the first thing people think of when it comes to spring and summer renovations, especially in California. A pool installation is more expensive than other renovations on this list, but it could have the greatest payoff.

People gravitate towards pools during the summer for the cool relief from the heat and they also make fantastic catalysts for parties. These factors can boost your home’s value by up to 8% and turn your house into the talk of the neighborhood.

You can opt for the cheaper above-ground pool or install an in-ground pool, which opens up numerous customization options. You determine the size, shape, depth, water features, and surrounding accessories based on your needs and interests. This process can take half a year to complete, so start outlining your plans soon.

4.   Patio Extensions

If you get an in-ground pool, it could probably benefit from additional patio space. Adding a new section to your patio opens up more room for social gatherings and other amenities. Plus, a larger patio makes landscaping less of a chore. The additional area can be made of concrete, pavers, or gravel. Each material has unique benefits:

  • Concrete: Concrete is the most durable material, allowing you to make a smooth transition between the extension and your current patio. You can also stain concrete to look like other materials, such as wood.
  • Pavers: Pavers have a porous surface that isn’t as permanent as concrete. The different shapes and sizes of pavers also allow you to use your imagination and make unique design choices.
  • Gravel: Although more prep work is required, gravel is the cheapest and easiest material to install. You can also change the gravel’s outline and density as needed. For example, you might move a patch of gravel to another area to expand the patio in a different direction.

No matter which option you prefer, they all hold up well under extreme heat if you choose light colors. Concrete is the most sturdy, but even pavers and gravel can withstand years of heavy usage and blistering heat before showing signs of deterioration.

5.   Smart Sprinkler System

You should evaluate your sprinkler system and consider upgrading before temperatures get too hot. Precipitation doesn’t happen often in California summers, so your yard needs all the help it can get. A smart sprinkler system could revolutionize your landscaping practices and make your yard healthier than ever before.

Smart sprinklers provide constant weather updates, giving you more time and information to work with. They also automatically adjust sprinkler timing and frequency based on how much water the surrounding area needs. All that’s required is a stable internet connection to keep the system running.

Other smart home technologies like thermostats and refrigerators are also worth considering, but a smart sprinkler system should take priority for LA residents. Droughts are no joke here.

6.   Quality Ceiling Fans

Now we move indoors to focus on improving your home’s air quality. New ceiling fans can bring numerous benefits to your home this summer:

  • Maintain constant air circulation, preventing rooms from getting hot and stuffy.
  • Give a steady breeze that makes the environment more comfortable.
  • Operate more quietly than air conditioners.
  • Use less energy than AC, helping the environment and your wallet.
  • Take up less space with more styling possibilities.
  • Provide an additional light source.

You can install fans outdoors as well, making them more versatile than other air circulation tools. Simply put: fans are awesome and your home should have a lot of them. However, you should use them in tandem with an air conditioner.

7.   New HVAC System

As great as ceiling fans are, they don’t lower a room’s temperature as effectively as air conditioning. Chances are good your California home already has a capable HVAC system, but have you done the proper maintenance? Check off these boxes to make sure your AC is in working order:

  • Replace the filter.
  • Check for leaks.
  • Make sure drip pans are draining properly.
  • Test the system’s noise level.

Make sure your home’s warranty covers the repairs if you notice any problems. If it doesn’t, you should consider upgrading to a new HVAC system. It will improve your home’s temperature and air quality, provide better efficiency than your previous system, and have more modern controls. You can establish different temperature zones, monitor humidity levels, and troubleshoot issues more easily.

Start Your Renovations Now

April has arrived, and extreme heat is close behind. Start your renovations now so you’re prepared when the dog days of June and July set in. Provide your guests with sufficient shade with an upgraded deck and gazebo. Install a swimming pool to bring the neighborhood together. Improve your patio and sprinkler system so your yard can handle everything.

Your indoor environment could use some adjustments as well. Get new ceiling fans to promote air circulation and consider investing in a new HVAC system to keep your home cool and comfortable. These renovations will have your house ready for the warmest temperatures that California has to offer.

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