Apples Vs. Oranges: Why Competitive Bidding Is Not the Best Way to Hire a Home Remodeling Contractor

When it comes to major remodeling projects, searching for the best price is often a path to big problems. If you don’t have a complete set of plans for each of the contractors to look at in order to get an apples-to-apples bid, each contractor will give his bid in his style. The honorable contractor will include everything so he doesn’t have the stress of having to keep telling you the cost is going up during the project, while a shady contractor will lowball the bid by leaving out items for you to supply—like fans, towel bars and other fixtures—so his bid will appear lower. You will soon figure out the project costs what it costs, usually when it’s too late to do anything about it. Often the lowball project not only ends up costing more, but is also more stressful to live through, and ends up not as well-built. Read more

Financing Your Home Improvement Project

I talk with so many people who are kept from pursuing their remodeling dreams because of the costs involved. Many remodeling projects that seem simple on the surface can quickly turn into an endeavor costing tens of thousands of dollars to do them properly.

Not being able to write a check up front to pay for your remodeling dream doesn’t necessarily mean it is beyond your means. There are several ways to finance a home improvement project, and many times it makes sense. Once you find out what it’s going to cost to update that thirty- or forty-year-old master bathroom—or any other project you have in mind—ask yourself these questions before you consider financing: Read more

Learning about Local Food CO-OPs

I recently visited with a potential client who turned out to be one of the operators of a local food buying club (sometimes called a food co-op), calld Funky Farmz. After looking into it, I was surprised at how many of these Co-Ops there are and how their popularity is growing. The clubs buy produce and other food-related items from local farms and businesses, take orders from the members, and then distribute the food on a specific day and time from someone’s home or business. Along with health and financial benefits, it’s a great way to support local farms and businesses through community effort. Read more

Creating a Master Remodeling Plan for Your Home

When clients ask me to talk with them about remodeling their whole home, I often recommend that we do a master remodeling plan for them. A master remodeling plan is a plan that encompasses the entire house, inside and out, down to each surface. Every dream, wish and desire is considered.

Once the master remodeling plan is complete, the scope of work for the various projects is identified so it can be broken down into manageable phases to keep the project on track and to budget spending, regardless of whether the remodel takes a few months or many years. This allows you to prioritize your options and will help you make better decisions regarding the timing of the different remodeling phases. Read more