Advanced Builders & Contractors Blog: Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Unique Additions to Consider for Your Next Renovation

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Whether you’re currently in the middle of your next renovation masterpiece or you’re planning to put your dream home together soon, there are plenty of options out there to help you customize to your heart’s content. Renovating your home is all about doing what makes you feel the most comfortable and happy in your space, and that could mean different things for different people. The renovation that makes you happy might not be right for someone else, and that’s totally okay! It’s all about finding the right fit for you, whether those changes are small or large.

If you’re thinking about springing for a renovation sometime soon, here are a few unique ideas that may just strike your fancy.

1.   Bookshelves

If you fancy yourself a bit of a book lover, building bookshelves into your home can be a fantastic renovation choice.

Whether you want to stack your bookshelves high to create your very own home library or simply include a few cubbies here and there, including some shelves in your home can give a touch of character and personality that’s characteristic of many older homes — so if you love vintage flair, this could be for you.

2.   An Entertainment Center

Books aren’t the only form of entertainment around. If you want to make the most of your living space — or even a designated entertainment space — including an entertainment center in your home can be a great way to liven things up and get comfortable. You can include a television, but don’t forget about music and speakers for when you want to party with guests!

3.   Smart Home Devices

Speaking of entertainment, one of the best recent home renovation trends that’s bound to stick around is the smart home. While it can control your entertainment system, it also has the potential to do so much more. From smart temperature controls to smart garage door controls that can keep you safe and comfortable, your smart home setups are as unique as you are.

4.   Pet Doors

If you happen to have a furry friend, many people can attest to the fact that pet doors are revolutionary. As long as your pet is used to going outside, having a pet door to allow them to come and go as they please keeps you from having to let them out, walk them on a schedule, or keep too close of an eye on them. It gives both of you more freedom.

5.   Heated Floors

Heated floors aren’t something that people think about as a first priority, but if you’re designing a mudroom, bathroom, or another tiled surface, you may want to consider the comfort that heated floors might bring. They’re a small sense of comfort and luxury and can feel especially great during the winter months.

6.   Solar Energy

Although installing solar panels can be a large decision and investment, if you have the finances for it, you may want to consider looking into it. Most solar panels pay for themselves in around a decade and continue to reduce your energy bills long after the fact.

Especially in sunnier places, where your solar panels may take even less time to pay for themselves, going solar can be a great way to make your home more sustainable and more affordable in the long run.

7.   More Outlets

If you’ve struggled with having too few electrical outlets in the past, especially in older homes, you can always take the step of adding a few more. While it may take a bit of electrical work, the convenience of having more outlets will likely pay off if that’s an issue you’ve dealt with in the past. You can also upgrade to outlets with USB ports in them for a more techy home.

8.   Green Space

Most homes have some form of green space near or around them, but what about green space incorporated into the actual home itself? If you happen to be a nature lover and a plant expert, you’ll likely know that greenery can live in a number of places.

Even if you already have a yard and a lawn you love, why not take the opportunity to install a green wall or a green roof if you have some extra space? Not only is this great for the earth, but it also looks beautiful.

9.   A Hot Tub

Although pools and hot tubs can sometimes come off as a bit impractical, they are extremely fun and relaxing. Plus, you don’t need an entire pool to install a hot tub that you can use all year long. If you love the feeling of long, relaxing soaks, why not look into installing a hot tub whenever you get started on your outdoor space?

10. A Fire Pit

Speaking of outdoor space, fire pits are great places to warm up, get cozy, and bring people together. Whether you love roasting marshmallows or simply having a drink with family around the fire, a fire pit can be the perfect place to relax all summer long and into the autumn season. Because of the warmth, a fire pit can even keep you outside long into the chillier evenings when you may have otherwise dashed inside.

11. Outdoor Showers

If you happen to live in a warmer area, putting an outdoor shower into your space can be a luxurious, natural experience that you won’t want to miss out on. Specifically, if you live in a place surrounded by greenery, you live near the beach, or if you have a pool that you’d rather rinse off from before you come indoors again, installing a shower outside can be a useful and straightforward addition to your home.

12. Rainfall Showerheads

As for the showers inside of the bathrooms, you don’t need to go all-out with the infinity pools and the fancy decor to get a bit of luxury in your life. In fact, a simple rainfall showerhead can usually do the trick of making you feel totally immersed in the waterfall experience without totally breaking the bank. If you want to up your bathroom game, this could be the best way to do it.

Unique Renovations for Your Home

Your home is unique — just like you! If you’re looking for the very best renovation ideas to make yourself and your family comfortable, it’s all about considering your preferences and looking at what would benefit your life. You don’t need to break the bank to have the home experience you want, but a little splurge is definitely worth it sometimes. What’s the first thing you want to change up when you start your renovation process?

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Things to Consider When Remodeling Your Home Into a Rental Property

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Investing in real estate can make a difference in your personal life and grow your finances. Maybe your family has outgrown your current home, and you’re looking to become a landlord instead of selling it. Becoming a landlord may be fun, as it means you don’t have to give up the home you love entirely. But it comes with a few obstacles you should prepare yourself for.

Preparing your home for becoming a rental property might not be easy, depending on the age of the house and how many issues need to be addressed before others move in. You can’t renovate a house like you would renovate your home, either. You have to appeal to a wide array of styles and narrow down your renter niche.

Think About These 7 Things Before Renovating

Renovations take work and plenty of planning. Before choosing to renovate anything, you must survey your home and figure out what you plan to do and what can hang around. Keep in mind that some things can be changed easily, while others take more effort to alter.

1. Home Layout

Consider the layout of your home. Does it match what many people want out of a house? Open floorplans are relatively popular these days. It allows hosts to move about the main floor freely while still communicating with guests or other members of the household. If your home isn’t an open floorplan, you might consider knocking down walls to make it more appealing to renters.

What else will you be updating? Consider updating the flooring to something more popular if yours is old and worn. Hardwood floors are attractive to potential renters and buyers, so if you can afford the investment, you should pick out the flooring that goes best with your style of home.

2. Rooms to Renovate

Consider which rooms you plan to upgrade. The number of rooms that need updating to make your home look attractive to renters may make you think twice about flipping it into a rental property. Which rooms you renovate will also have an effect on your overall budget for the mass renovation.

On the other hand, if you’ve recently renovated some of the rooms in your home, you might see this as an excellent opportunity to finish the renovation process. Just make sure your rooms are all the same style, else it might look odd to have only a couple of renovated rooms.

3. Your Curb Appeal

Does the exterior of your house match the interior? Increasing your curb appeal adds value to your home in the long run, as the outside of your house is the first thing people see. The exterior of your home serves as a first impression, so you shouldn’t neglect it when remodeling your home.

The exterior of your house should complement the interior so people know what to expect when they walk through the door. Having a cohesive image, inside and out, will help people see your overall vision for the home and please their eyes.

4. Small Improvements

Look for minor cosmetic issues here and there that you can fix before you tackle massive remodels. Can you touch up the paint here and there, or even change up the color of a wall entirely? Do some research on what looks good in your style of home and tailor it toward that expectation. These touch-ups can help you decide whether you want to continue with a larger, more intensive remodel.

5. Big Upgrades

You may consider upgrading your home to have amenities and appliances that are more cutting-edge than the ones you’re currently using. Buying a newer washing machine and dryer will ensure you likely won’t have any issues with them in the near future, making them perfect for move-in-ready tenants.

Likewise, making sure that all the appliances in a particular area match could improve your house’s visual appeal. Having devices of the same finish in the kitchen, from the fridge to the stove to the dishwasher, looks better than if they are all mismatched.

6. Responsibilities of Landlords

Your responsibilities don’t vanish once you’re done with the renovations. Consider whether you’re physically and mentally able to take on the responsibilities of being a landlord at this time. It might not be the right time in your life if you’ve started a new job or added to your family. You want to minimize stress as much as possible so you can be a fair and trustworthy landlord.

To assess whether you’re ready for the role of landlord, you need to look at all the responsibilities they have. Drafting a potential lease for any renter would be one task for you to tackle to see if you’re ready to take on this new role. Once you figure out that you’re prepared to be a landlord, you can start to act on your list of renovations and make them a reality.

7. Your Budget

To establish a proper budget, you need to see how much you can afford and how much the other homes in your area are renting for. Once you know the average monthly rent in your area, you can make upgrades as you see fit while sticking to your budget to add to the value of your potential rental property. Setting a budget is essential so you don’t go overboard with your choices or accidentally slip into debt while preparing your property for rent.

The low end of an average remodel is nearly $20,000, so you should carefully consider which rooms need remodeling and how you can save on costs as much as possible while still being a competitive housing option in your area.

Home Renovation Leads to Excellent Rentals

The more you renovate your home to be more modern, the likelier you may be to find a renter who enjoys the style and will want to stay there. Upgrading your home doesn’t just make it more attractive to renters — it also means you’ll have fewer repairs to make in the future if something goes awry.

By upgrading your home through remodels, you can ensure you’ll have happy tenants who enjoy living in your rental property as much as you did!

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Why You Should Hire a Professional Contractor

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Remodeling can improve the function of your space. It can also raise your home’s resale value. However, larger renovations can often be time-consuming and require certain skills. This is where hiring a professional contractor can save you money and stress. Here are some of the main reasons you should consider having a contractor do the job.

1.  They Have the Knowledge and Skills

Contractors are licensed and often have years of experience in the industry. To gain a license, they need to pass an exam to demonstrate their knowledge. So, contractors understand all the ins and outs of the construction business. They know the right materials to use and can ensure the building is up to code.

Also, since they’ve worked on multiple homes, they know the pitfalls to watch out for and some insider tricks. Even if you’ve done other DIY projects, you likely don’t have the same level of expertise as a professional.

2.  They Can Obtain Any Necessary Permits

Some building projects will require you to obtain a permit. A contractor will know what types of projects require these and when to apply for them. If you’re installing plumbing or electrical or adding a deck, you will need a permit.  For your safety, any type of electrical work should be done by a professional.

To apply for a permit, you have to go through your local government’s office. But by hiring a contractor, you can skip this step. Also, the contractor will ensure you’re following all the local building requirements.

If you don’t follow these codes, you can run into trouble when you sell your house. If an inspector notices these violations, you may be asked to fix the issues before a buyer makes an offer.

3.  It Keeps Your Home and Family Safe

A professional contractor is thoroughly trained on safety procedures before getting their license. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also sets regulations for construction workers.

For example, when working with heights, guardrails or safety nets should be present. Contractors also follow local building codes to ensure all structures are properly secured. This can keep your family safe and prevent any long-term issues.

Also, contractors have access to safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety harnesses, and eye protection. Plus, these professionals have more knowledge of complex systems, such as electrical wiring or radon systems, making them better equipped to avoid personal injuries.

4. They Are Insured

Doing the renovation yourself can leave you unprotected against accidental incidents. A primary benefit of hiring a contractor is that they are insured. Most have Workers’ Compensation and liability insurance.

Before hiring a contractor, verify that they are insured. You may even want to ask to see their certificate of insurance. If your project uses lots of supplies, consider asking if they have auto liability. You should also verify how much experience they have. Ask them how long they have been in the business and what past projects they have worked on.

5.  It Can Make the Process More Efficient

Major renovations can take up a lot of time. Suppose you’re remodeling your kitchen? It could take between three and five months. This is because you’re typically installing plumbing and electricity and upgrading appliances. However, when working with a contractor, the process can go quicker.

They have the skills to do the project and can effectively manage the crew. Also, they’re used to working with tight deadlines. Plus, they understand the business terminology and can work better with local suppliers. However, you still may want to check on the progress of the project periodically. This way, you and the contractor are on the same page and they can clarify any questions.

6.  It Saves You Time

While you could dive into a DIY project for a week, it may start to impact your personal life. Between juggling work and taking care of the kids, your time will be spread thin. So, consider hiring a professional to get the job done quickly. This way, you can focus on your daily responsibilities.

Also, the longer the project takes, the more time your home is disrupted. If you’re redoing your kitchen, you may have to find alternative ways to cook your food. Also, during construction, dust can quickly spread throughout your home. So, ensure you’re regularly cleaning your HVAC filters.

7. It Lowers the Costs

Doing the project yourself might seem like a more cost-effective option. However, hiring a contractor can save you money down the road. If you end up messing up the project, this could lead to long-term issues. For example, if you improperly install a plumbing system, it can lead to leaks. Over time, this built-up moisture could damage your interior.

Also, you may not be as familiar with where to find the best materials for the job. A professional has connections with local vendors, so they can supply you with both high-quality and accessible supplies.

Tips for Hiring the Right Contractor

Once you have decided you’re ready to hire a professional contractor, here are some tips to get you started.

1. Review All Your Options

Instead of just settling on the first contractor you talk to, look around. Speak with multiple workers and compare their prices. Also, learn more about their work methods and the building materials they use. Get multiple estimates before making a final decision. Also, don’t feel pressured into making an immediate selection.

2.  Look Into Their Past Work

Research their past projects and see how they turned out. Also, look into any specializations they may have. Check their references and inquire about their customer service reputation. Also, ask about the quality of their products.

3.  Get Everything in Writing

Before work starts, make sure you have a comprehensive contract. You want to get everything in writing to ensure there is no confusion in the future. This usually includes a description of the project and a payment schedule. Make sure the contract is clearly written. You may even want a lawyer to look over it before you sign.

If there are any changes to the contract, these should be acknowledged in writing. Also, ensure the contractor obtains all the necessary building permits before construction begins.

4. Wait to Pay Until the End

You want to wait until the contractor completes the project before making a payment. Be sure you make the payment out to the company, not an individual. Although, for larger projects, you may pay a portion of the estimated costs initially.

5.  Keep Track of Important Documents

You want all your essential documents in one folder. This should contain any change orders, plans, or bills. Having these papers in one place will limit any confusion in the future.

The Benefits of a Professional Contractor

When it comes to making minor upgrades in your home, it can be tempting to do it yourself. While it may seem more cost-effective, contractors are beneficial in many ways. They can save you time and stress, so consider hiring a professional contractor for your next remodeling project.

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Luxury Renovation Ideas for a Garage

Friday, November 27th, 2020

For most people, their garage is just a space to park the car or dump rarely used items. What if you are looking to do more with your garage? Are you planning on renovating a garage space but need ideas on how to transform the garage space into an amazing one? Here are some ideas to put you on the right track.

1) Garage Flooring

There are several options to choose from when it comes to the garage floor. One of the most popular types of flooring you will find in most garages today is the concrete floor. Although concrete floors tend to get stained, you can always choose paint or epoxy on the garage floor.

As there are many options for a garage floor, you might need to come up with some driveway paving ideas that will make choosing a flooring type more clearer.

2) Transform Into A Leisure Room

The garage space can be a place where you ease off the stress from your professional life and recharge your batteries. You can create space aside from where you will park the car to install a small fridge or hang a TV. You can set up a game room in your garage while not going overboard with your budget.

3) Insulate

Climatic conditions present where you live should also be considered. You want a garage that can stay warm during winter and stay cool during summer. This is not just for the good of the car parked in there but also great if you’d like to spend time in your garage.

A great way to go about this is by using concrete roof tiles when renovating your garage. Concrete adds a touch of luxury to your garage while contributing its insulating properties and durability as well. You can also explore other insulating options such as insulated walls.

Insulating will help you save energy cost as you won’t have to spend so much on heating up or cooling down during different seasons.

4) Lofting Your Garage

Another amazing garage renovation idea that will give your garage that luxurious feel is lofting your garage. This provides you with the opportunity to park your car and still have enough room for other purposes. You can choose to install a bed in the lofted space, you could even convert the space to a mini guest room, an office, or a living room.

A lofted garage can give your garage a luxurious unique look and also provide you with enough space to also use as storage.

5) Do More With Lighting

If you plan to spend more time in your garage, you need to invest in lighting. Adequate lighting will enhance the ambiance of your garage space and also makes it possible to enjoy the nights.

There are different ways to achieve this. You could opt for a motion sensor that will turn on the lights whenever someone steps into the garage and also turn it off when there’s no one in the garage. This is a great feature as it not only adds a touch of luxury to your garage experience but also has the potential to save energy cost.

6) Don’t Forget The Exterior

While you place your focus on renovating the interior of your garage, you want to make sure not to forget the exterior as well. Whatever improvements you’ve made to the interior, they could be watered down if the exterior doesn’t compliment all the effort channeled towards the interior.

This will require you to choose a garage trim that complements the overall style of your home.

Conclusion

You want to be creative with garage remodeling, but try not to go overboard with your budget. Whatever ideas you have, make sure you employ the services of qualified professionals to avoid unnecessary future expenses.

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

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A Few Excellent Home Improvement Ideas

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

ktichen-planning-toolsYou like your current house and don’t want to go through the long process of purchasing a new home and moving. But you’re still interested in making your home better. If you already have an idea for what you want, such as a room addition, room conversion, or luxury bathroom remodel, then the next step is easy—call our office and get started.

However, you may be in a nebulous place with your ideas for improving your house. You’re considering factors about livability, family growth, return on investment, time, etc. It’s a lot to consider, and below we’ve listed some ideas for home improvement to think about. If anything on this list gives you that “ah ha!” feeling, then you know who to call to get started. You can schedule that home improvement in Beverly Hills, CA with a contractor who handles all stages of the process: Advanced Builders & Contractors. We’ll answer all your questions and find the right approach for the project.

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Tips to Find a Top Rated Landscaper in Los Angeles County

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Are you searching for a top-rated landscaper in Los Angeles County? Are you getting overwhelmed with the sheer volume of landscapers in the greater Los Angles county? Not all landscapers are created equal, and often times you get what you pay for.

Allow us to help you understand what to look for when hiring a landscaper in LA County. Before we give you some advice, it’s important to know the financial impact that landscaping can have on the value of your home.  As a general contractor in Los Angeles, we understand the importance of having a well-maintained home.

According to industry experts, a professionally landscaped home can improve the value of your home on average by 5-12%.  If you’re trying to sell a home in the Los Angeles county area that’s worth $500,000, consider hiring a top-rated landscaper. Doing so could increase the value of your home by $25,000 – $60,000!

According to John Gidding, host of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” and Logo TV’s “Secret Guide to Fabulous”, landscaping has helped increase the resale value of some homes by an astonishing 150%!

Now that you know how much you can expect your home value to increase, let’s review some tips to hiring a contractor in Los Angeles County.

 

Tip #1 for Hiring a Landscaper

Make sure your landscaping goals can be completed by the contractor. As you may expect, each local LA County landscaper will have different skills and competencies. If you know exactly what you want, you should ask the landscaper if they can share pictures of projects they have completed that are similar. This will help you understand what the limits are for each local landscaper and may help you find one that can really deliver what you’re looking for.

If you aren’t sure what your goals are, it would be smart to have a conversation with the landscaper to get their ideas, suggestions, and thoughts on the project. If you feel that the company can deliver what you’re looking for, make sure to ask for pictures as well as some references.

Some landscapers in LA County are great salespeople, but aren’t able to deliver! Proceed with caution if they are unable to provide references and/or pictures of work completed.

Tip #2 for Hiring a Landscaper

Get a contract in writing, with all of the deliverables and timeframe for completion. Once the goals have been established, the next step is to ensure everything is in writing. You as the homeowner know what to expect, and the contractor knows exactly what they need to do. We suggest doing this, regardless of the budget. Even if it’s only for a $500 job, having a contract in writing helps protect both sides.

Most LA County landscapers will create the contract, which is a good sign. Other landscapers won’t. If they don’t do this as part of their standard process, that doesn’t necessarily mean they refuse to. They may do excellent work but just don’t have their customer service processes in place! On the other hand, if a landscaper refuses to create and sign a contract, or the contract contains language that is not specific enough, it may be time to look for someone else.

If push comes to shove and you have to go to court, a well-written contract will protect both parties!

 

Tip #3 for Hiring a Landscaper

Learn about their Warranties and Guarantees. You can get a warranty on a big screen TV, and you can get a satisfaction guarantee with most service contractors, so a local landscaping company should be willing to do the same. A warranty merely implies that they will stand by their work after it’s complete! If you’re hiring a local Los Angeles County landscaper who doesn’t stand by their work, you should consider someone else.

Similar to the point about getting a contract in writing, you’ll want to make sure the warranty/guarantee is in writing as well.

 

Tip #4 for Hiring a Landscaper

Check out online reviews! There are no shortage of online review sources, and we suggest reading a variety of different sources. If an LA County landscaper has a 1-star review, make sure you read the review to understand what went wrong. It may have been due to poor expectations on the customer’s end, which shouldn’t necessarily reflect badly upon the company. Understanding the context of each review is very important.

Did the company respond to each review, not just the negative ones? This may be a sign that the landscaper is committed to customer satisfaction!

 

Consider Hiring these Local Landscapers in Los Angeles County:

  1. Flores Artscape – (323) 666-3510
  2. Contact Us to learn about how to get your company name and phone number listed here!

 

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The Conservatory: Things to Know About This Room Addition

Monday, April 15th, 2019

remodeling-chairs-and-sunny-windowsThe word conservatory carries an air of sophistication. We often think of a conservatory as a type of music school. But a conservatory is also a kind of room in a home, one that originally developed in the 19th century as a way to bring in additional light to a part of the house and offer a space to more effectively grow plants indoors. The conservatory is still a popular option for a room addition that can take a standard home and give it the feeling a luxury mansion.

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Room Addition Idea: The Garage Conversion

Monday, November 26th, 2018

home-with-garageYou’re looking for more space in your house, and you’ve started to think that perhaps a garage conversion is the best way to go. This isn’t your only option, but if you don’t use your garage often for parking cars, transforming it into part of the living space is attractive. After all, a large part of the work of a room addition is already done: walls, ceiling, foundation, and in most cases it’s already attached to the house.

However, before you go grab a bunch of tools and see what you can do with the space, we recommend you take some time to think about just what you want to do with the garage. We also recommend you work with a skilled contractor who has done more than one room addition in LA county—preferably several hundred of them! Below are some things to consider as you get ready to change the garage into part of the living space.

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How to Create the Perfect Kitchen Lighting

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

If you like to cook then you have likely experienced a moment of trying to make your culinary masterpiece only to not have enough light above you to determine if the Blanquette sauce you created is the white it needs to be or is it more of a dull grey?

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Don’t Let the Wrong Contractor Ruin a Good Room

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Your planned kitchen remodeling project or bathroom renovations are too big to do on your own, so you know you’ll have to look around for contractors who really know their stuff. But it’s not enough for someone to tell you they can do the work for a low price. You want to make sure you find the right contractors—a quality licensed team to ensure the work goes smoothly. Below, learn why you should always do your research rather than choosing someone who offers the lowest price.

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