Top 5 Home Remodels That Will Boost Your Property Value

When you want to remodel your home, a fresh coat of paint or new flooring can make it feel like a brand new space. Updates like floors, paint, kitchen updates, and bathroom updates can be wonderful for you to enjoy and ones that buyers in the future will enjoy too.

Some remodels like these can actually boost your property value and will make a huge impact on your future reselling opportunities. Take a look at the home remodels that not only will you love, but will boost your property value when the time comes to sell.

Adding a deck

People want to enjoy their outdoor space more and you can do this by making it designed better for entertaining. Start with adding a wooden deck to your backyard space if you have a big enough yard to enjoy one. This will likely cost thousands of dollars, but you’ll have the backyard space of your dreams.

Make sure it features pressure-treated wood posts and railings, as well as a built-in bench and planter. This will add huge value to your home while also being a great space to entertain your friends and family throughout the year. Just add some beautiful string lights and comfortable furniture to set the tone!

adding a deck

Front door replacement

You may not have thought that a front door replacement would make a difference in your home’s value, but replacing it with a steel door is actually a huge increase in property value. Home security is more important than ever and steel doors are the best way to secure a home.

This will cost you less than $2,000 and you will recoup almost 75% of your cost in doing so. You’ll enjoy a more secure space and so will future buyers. Make sure you get a 20-gauge steel door with a dual-pane and half-glass panel.

New garage door

Speaking of door replacements, you should definitely consider investing in a garage door replacement. These can cost a couple of thousand dollars, but replacing your old two-car garage door with a four-section garage door will definitely enhance curb appeal. You’ll likely recoup almost the entire cost when you go to sell your home making this an excellent investment. Choose one that is heavy-duty with a galvanized steel track and a motorized garage door opener.

Energy-efficiency

Going energy-efficient in the home is the latest trend in home renovations and it’s one that will definitely benefit both you and future buyers. Swap your old appliances for energy-efficient ones that will end up lowering your utility bills and showing future buyers that they will save money each month too. Make choices in the home like installing fiberglass attic insulation and replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones.

Freshen up the landscaping

Finally, spend some time outside and freshen up your landscaping. This sets the first impression to your home and will affect your mood every time you pass by it on the way in and out of the house. You can add details like paver stones and fountains, but you’ll see a better return on choices like applying fertilizer and weed control, as well as applying a stone walkway with greenery.

These are the ways in which you can boost your property value through simple remodels that you will enjoy on a daily basis!

How to choose the best property builder for you

There isn’t much more of an important decision in life than choosing a builder for your home. This is the place you are going to raise your family and you are investing your family’s money into this property. This means that you want the absolute best build you can get and you want to be proud of the work that was done.

choosing a custom home working with an architect

When you’re inexperienced in the custom home building process, it’s important to know what to look for in your decision for the best property builder. Take a look at the things you’ll want to look for when choosing your builder.

Are they licensed?

First, find out about their licensing and insurance. Any property builder should be licensed, registered, and insured, and they should be able to make that clear upfront with you. If it turns out that anything has expired or any licensing was revoked, this could mean they were a shady builder.

If they are licensed and insured and can quickly prove this, you’ll be in good hands. They will have some sort of liability insurance, home warranty insurance, and/or building insurance.

Look for project quality

Next, you’ll want to get to know the quality of work they do. What types of brands is this builder using to build with and are the brands known for a good reputation? What areas do you see the attention to detail when visiting a home that’s been built?

What signs do you see of good quality construction? If you can tour past projects with a walkthrough and ask questions about materials used from the foundation they built to the countertops they chose.

Talk to references

While you’re doing a walk-through, make sure to talk to clients to see how their experience was. You’ll want to talk to clients that are currently having a build done and a few past clients. Be sure to also conduct a background check and find out about their reputation by searching projects the builder has completed and a list of future and ongoing projects. You can find builders in an area from looking online or looking in the local newspaper.

Transparency and asking questions

How well does this builder communicate? A builder that is transparent and happy to answer questions from the start is likely a good choice. They should be able to give you a timeline, an estimate, discuss their relationship with their contractors, and who would be helping to build your home.

Do they use confusing industry jargon or do they explain everything well so that you understand what to expect? Do they spell out exactly what work they are doing for you and include details like lighting fittings, window locks, garage doors, and fencing? Make sure to work with someone transparent and will quickly answer any questions.

Warranties and service

Talk to your builder about the warranty you can expect with your home build. You should always have some sort of warranty especially since this is your biggest investment and it should be a long-term one that is written and insured by a third party warranty. If your builder is simply promising to perform, this is not going to be enough seeing that a builder could always go out of business or not stand by their word. You’ll need your warranty in writing.

Resale value

Lastly, it’s time to take a closer look at the resale value that you are seeing among the projects they’ve already done. If you’re seeing that homes this builder has completed tend to maintain their value, this is a great sign. Look for builder ads that mention the name of a builder on a home that’s for sale and is around 5 years old. If your builder is listed, this means that the realtor trusts their work to market them on the listing.

When it comes to choosing a home builder, this is a decision to take very seriously. Use these tips to make sure you’ve done your homework and can count on your builder to be the ones to create the space that will be responsible for all of your dearest family memories! Powell Custom Homes fits the bill and can help - contact us today!

What are the Responsibilities of a Custom Home Builder?

Hiring a custom home builder means you're putting someone in charge of building your new home. It's important to know what your builder is supposed to do for you. Here are the main responsibilities of a custom home builder.

Handle the Design and Building Permits

Most custom home builders will start by creating the right design for your new home. They may have an in-house team for the design portion or a design company they work with. It's also possible the custom builder will offer specific models, which you can customize with features, amenities, and upgrades.

In addition, your custom builder will obtain all necessary building permits before starting any work.

Subcontractor Management

Building a home requires several elements and each element requires a subcontractor. Your custom home builder will coordinate and manage the many subcontractors from plumbers to electricians to carpenters.

Throughout the building process, they will make sure each subcontractor is performing the necessary duties and delivering the work on time.

Monitor the Costs

Throughout the design and construction process, your custom home builder will also monitor the costs. They will make sure you remain informed of any changes to the quoted costs. Your builder will also supply any lien release waivers for completed work and collect money for change orders.

Ensure Building to Code

When you hire a custom home builder, they take on the responsibility of ensuring your home is built to the codes set forth by the local government. Building codes and designer guidelines are vital to the project and your builder will ensure all subcontractors are performing the proper duties and using the right techniques for your home.

Complete Initial Inspection

Once the home has been built, your custom home builder will complete an inspection with you to ensure everything has been built to your specifications. They will look for any defects or unfinished work to create a list of items needing to be done before the home becomes move-in ready.

Fix Any Issues

After the initial inspection is done, the builder will work with subcontractors to fix any issues found. This may include repainting if the wrong color was used, swapping out fixtures, or fixing any defective parts of the home. Anything not completed to the specifications of the original design will be addressed and fixed.

Gain a Certificate of Occupancy

Once everything has been fixed and the home has been fully built, your builder will have the city or county do a final inspection. As long as everything has passed, they will issue a certificate of occupancy, which allows the builder to turn the home over to you.

Provide Advice for Maintenance

The final responsibility of a custom home builder is to provide you with advice about how to maintain the home. This may include advice on how to maintain specific units within the home and general knowledge on home maintenance.

Your custom home builder has many responsibilities to handle. Make sure you hire the right builder for your new home as you don't want a builder unwilling to take their responsibilities seriously.

happy family in new home

3 Beginners Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Home

When you're brand new to building a new house, it could end up as a disaster, if you're not aware of the most common mistakes. If you've never had a home built for you before, you could end up paying too much, making a design mistake, or simply creating something you don't love.

new custom home by Powell Custom Homes

Avoiding the most common mistakes can help lead you to a great house you will absolutely love. Here are three beginners’ mistakes you want to avoid when building a new home.

Design for Your Lifestyle

Sometimes, we have this idea of a dream home in our heads, but it doesn't really fit with the way we truly live. Beginners may think designing a house a specific way will help them avoid living the way they currently live if there's something they don't truly like about their lifestyle. Don't make this mistake when creating your home.

Instead, make sure you design your home for your lifestyle today, five years from now, and even ten years from now. Maybe you just got married and you plan to have children. This should be incorporated into the design. Even if you plan to retire soon or this will be your retirement house, you need to plan for this big life event in your home design.

Make sure you have the right number of bedrooms and you use the space properly for your lifestyle. Often, the function will matter more than the aesthetics, especially once the home has been built and you're living in it.

Placement of Laundry Room

You may not think much about the laundry room placement, but you know you want a laundry room in your new home. Maybe you're used to what you have now and it just seems normal.

However, with a custom-built home, you have the option of putting the laundry room in the basement, on the first floor, or on the second floor. It makes the most sense to put the laundry room closest to the largest number of bedrooms you will be using regularly.

You may also think about having a laundry chute installed in the laundry room will be in the basement or on the first floor. This can make it easier to get dirty laundry to the room without so much effort.

HVAC System vs. Home Size

It's possible you could end up building a home with an HVAC system that doesn't fully heat or cool the home. You want to pay close attention to the type of system you get and what it's made for.

Some HVAC systems are not meant to cool or heat larger homes and you want to make sure you have the right size unit for your home. Even though it's more common for the HVAC system to be too small, it's also possible for it to be too big. If the system is too big, you may end up with huge bills every month.

Make sure you do your own research and ensure you're getting the right HVAC system for your specific home.

There are several mistakes you could make when building your home. When you choose a good custom home builder you will likely avoid many common mistakes. However, pay close attention to these three mistakes and don't end up with a home you don't absolutely love.

The differences between basement construction types

Basements can be a real asset to a home. They allow you to create a community space outside of your typical living room or outdoor spaces. They are great options for your laundry room or guest rooms. You can use them to entertain with a wet bar and an entertainment area.

On the flip side, they can have their nuances or weaknesses which are something to consider if you are going to have one built into your new construction home. take a look at the different types of basement constructions and how they differ from one another.

Basement Construction Types

Concrete block

If you are trying to save a buck but still want to include a basement in your home, a concrete block or masonry construction is the least expensive. It can be done in less time too compared to other options. You’ll be working with cinder block walls with are hollow by nature but are much faster to build with. Then steel rebar would be used to reinforce them and make them stronger.

The downside to concrete block walls is that you’ll be more likely to see a water leak compared to other types of basements. Water can sometimes get through the mortar that’s holding the blocks together especially along the wall or floor joints.

Poured concrete basement

A popular basement option is the poured concrete basement. This is actually the most common type of basement build and the option that most prefer. While it takes longer than using concrete block, you’ll benefit from it having the best strength of all basement types.

It’s a simple and sturdy option that is done by pouring a footing for the foundation and then once it has set, forms are used to hold the poured concrete wall in place as they dry. Since the basement walls are much stronger, as a result, a water leak is really only possible at the joints between the walls and floors. Just watch out for cracks in the walls because that could allow leaks in as well.

Clay or stone tile

Another solution is what older homes and historical homes used which is stone and clay tile walls. These were used because there weren’t necessarily other materials available and this was a strong solution. The problem is that it wouldn’t be hard for water to seep through and cause water in your basement.

If you were to buy a home with this type of basement or build with it and let it age, it could end up with gaps and cracks that make it easy for water to get in. you can combat that with a perimeter drain system though.

Precast panel walls

Finally, there are precast panel walls in which your basement walls would be molded at another location and transported to your home. They would be brought over and placed on footers. While this is a strong option, it is less common than going with a poured or block basement.

This would save you money and time on the construction site though and many newer residential buildings are starting to utilize this more and more. You could see damage along the joint between the floor and walls if anything, but it’s a strong option and is made from a concrete mixture that is more water-resistant over time.

That’s a look at the different construction types of basements for you to consider if you are looking for extra space in the house, a home that will be a more attractive listing in the future, and a great space to entertain, cool off in the summer, or hideout during inclement weather.

What to look for in a property for your custom home

There’s more to think about with your custom home build than just how many bedrooms and whether what you want the backyard to look like. You also need to think about what type of land you should be looking for before building the home. Not all land is equal and you don’t want to end up in a situation where you’ve built a beautiful home on a lot that actually had some issues.

Learn about the potential pitfalls of a piece of land before making the decision to buy it for a custom build. Take a look at what you need to look for in a property before you have a custom home built there.

Choose the location carefully

One thing you cannot change once you’ve built this home here is your location. You need to put a large consideration on your location because it’s permanent and the things surrounding you are not likely going to change much.

What side of town do you really want to be on? What school district is this location going to put your children in? Are you close to professional services, entertainment, grocery stores, and recreation?

There is much to consider when choosing a location but you want to make sure you are going to be happy with things like a nice view, proximity to the schools you want to send your kids to, your commute to work from here, and how far away are things you enjoy like restaurants and outdoor recreation.

What are the setbacks of this piece of land?

Every piece of land is going to have some sort of setbacks, whether it’s lacking a great view, it’s too big of a plot to ever have close neighbors, the type of soil doesn’t allow you to grow your favorite plants, or it’s near a flood zone.

When you start by surveying a property, you can walk the land with a seller and find out everything about the property. You’ll want to learn as much as you can so that you can determine if it’s suitable for building a home here.

Some lots are going to be well-suited but will require some work like clearing some trees or grading some hills. If you plan to install a septic tank or create a power hookup, you’ll need to know about your options for this plot of land. This is the time to ask all of the questions you have for your intentions with this property to make sure it’s a good fit.

Zoning and restrictions

You can then stop by city hall to talk to the health department about local sewer and water codes and then stop by the planning commission to find out the details on zoning restrictions.  You may be able to see the chain of title to see what the land was worth previously by talking to the town clerk. If you happen to have picked a property in a landmarked district, you’ll find out what the rules are going to be on materials, size, style, etc.

The most important information will come from the assessor’s office where you can find out about flood-zone boundaries, wetland proximities, tax information, restrictions imposed on by a previous owner, and if you’ll need an easement from any neighbors to access part of your property.

What about utilities?

If everything checks out, you’ll also want to find out how you’ll be getting utilities to this property. Not only will you need essentials like power, water, and waste, but you’ll likely want to set up phone and internet services. You may also need gas from a utility company or a propane tank.

Can you build a well here for water or do you have access to a utility company? Some pieces of land are great but it’s too remote to access municipal utilities. 

Make sure to factor in these considerations when looking at property for your custom home. Don’t forget to consider what this neighborhood may look like in 5 years or 10 years to better assess if this is a place you’ll want to live when that time comes!

custom home built by Powell Custom Homes

Beginners guide to designing your dream house

You’ve been dreaming of this your whole life and the time has finally come. You get to build your dream home!  Rather than buying an already built house and making it a home, you are going all in one by creating one from scratch that your fits your family to a T. Since this will be a big process, you’ll need to know where to begin. Use this beginner’s guide to design your dream house and get started today.

Start with a brainstorm session

The first thing to do is will probably be the most fun part of the process which is to brainstorm and start with the dream or vision. Grab a pencil and paper to start sketching ideas and making lists. What features do you want each room to have? What ideas do you already have? Start writing things down and sketching what you’d like to see.

couple imagining their dream home

You’ll want to think about your family’s needs and what your future plans are in order to put this into the design of the space.  Do you plan to have kids or do you have kids leaving the nest? Do you plan to have guests over often or would a small space suit your needs best? Think about what currently works well for you and what your family currently wishes they had in a home. It helps to think about your family’s lifestyle, future plans and needs for the next several years.

Consider how it will work with your land

If you are designing a home for a property you already have, you’ll have to consider how the land will work in your home design. This can work in your favor as it helps start to narrow down your mind’s endless possibilities into something that has to work with a certain size, views you want to have, and land features like sloped land or a stream on the property.

You can purposely put your best view where your master bedroom is, or utilize the sloped land into better views. Have that big window in the living looking out to beautiful natural views rather than your neighbor’s house.

Prioritize the important features

You’ll next want to consider what the most important features will be for you. Take a look at that wish list where you wrote down things like “swimming pool,” “water views,” and “basement” in order to start thinking about which features are the most important.

Prioritize the things that you must have even if nothing else makes the list, such as that backyard garden or view of downtown that you’ve been dreaming of the most or would benefit your family most. This way, you can focus your budget on what matters most and then incorporate other wish list items as money allows.

Consider flow and light

When you design a home, you often forget to place yourself in the home during the design process. You’ll have to be able to function in the house and have a way to flow nicely. You don’t want to put the kitchen right next to a bedroom, or the bathroom far away from common areas where guests would visit. Consider the function and flow by making more room in the areas that your family tends to congregate and considering your daily routines.

Balance your budget with your wish list

Now you’ll want to look at both your budget and your actual wish list to find the right balance. If you can’t afford a swimming pool, it might be time to focus on what you can afford and maybe leaving room for one if you think you’ll add one someday.

Think about what you can afford when it comes to your monthly mortgage, property taxes, and insurance. Consider what you can handle for your monthly cost of living when it comes to things like utilities. Then consider if your style reflects these realities or is out of budget. You’ll want to balance your budget with your wish list of items like wanting a space to entertain, wanting a waterfront location, and having space to work on favorite hobbies.

This is the first step in designing your dream custom home!

5 Benefits of Building a Custom Home

Choosing to build a custom home means you'll gain plenty of benefits. Whether you're deciding to build because you cannot find the right features in an existing home or because you prefer the feeling of a new home, you'll be happy with your decision. Let's look at five of the top benefits you'll gain from building a custom home.

brand new custom home by Powell Custom Homes

Ability to Build Your Dream Home

After choosing the right custom home builder for the project, you'll get to start the design process. During this process, you'll get to choose the fixtures, finishes, layout, upgrades, and other features. You'll actually have the ability to create your dream home when choosing to build a custom home.

Finding the perfect home already on the market for you isn't easy. If you've dreamed of certain features and a certain style, building a custom home might be the only way to get what you truly want.

Everything is Brand New & Under Warranty

When you build a new home with a custom builder, everything will be under warranty. For a homeowner, this is a massive benefit. You won't have to worry about maintenance for the first few years, and with some items, the warranty may cover you up to ten years.

Not only will everything be covered by a warranty, but it will also be brand new. Just like the feeling of buying a brand new car, you'll get a house nobody has ever lived in, not even for a day.

Newest Energy Efficient Features

Existing homes don't offer the best when it comes to energy efficiency unless they've been upgraded. This means you'll likely pay a higher energy bill every month compared to the energy bill of a new home.

When you choose to build a custom home, you'll get the benefit of all the latest energy efficient features. From energy efficient insulation to Energy Star appliances, you'll have a home ready to save you money on that monthly energy bill.

You Choose the Budget

Instead of haggling with a seller, when you build a new home, you choose your budget. If you want to spend more to upgrade specific features, you can. However, if you don't want to spend extra for specific upgrades, you don't have to.

Since the home is fully customizable, you get to choose the budget. You won't need to worry about trying to get the best deal from someone selling their home and you won't need to budget for repairs or renovations, either.

Choose Your Style

Sometimes, it can be hard to find a home fitting the architectural style you prefer. Certain geographical areas don't include specific home styles, which makes it hard to find the perfect home for you.

When you choose to build a custom home, you'll get to choose the style. You won't be stuck with whatever style you can find fitting some of your needs. Instead, you'll get the style you prefer and the ability to fully customize the home.

If you're thinking about buying a new home, but you're not sure you want to choose an existing home, why not build? There are several great benefits of building a custom home and these are just five of the top benefits.

3 Signs You May Need to Remodel Your Concrete Finishes

Sometimes homes need their concrete finishes remodeled and it’s one of those jobs that doesn’t happen very often as a homeowner. The good news is that when it’s finished it will look beautiful with today’s advances in the use of concrete finishes. It’s something that you wouldn’t think would be part of home ownership because it’s such a strong and hard material and it’s what we drive our cars on, but when you start getting cracks in the floor, it may be time to assess it for a remodel.

For others, you may simply want to remodel it for cosmetic reasons and enjoy an aesthetically pleasing look to your home. Take a look at these 3 signs that you may need to remodel your concrete finishes.

Cracking

One sign that it’s time to remodel your concrete finishes is that it’s beginning to crack. While not all cracking is a safety hazard, it doesn’t look great for your home’s design. It could mean there have been some issues that have caused cracking like moisture which you don’t want in the home.

Since the floors don’t bear the weight of the house, you don’t have to worry about it being a structural issue. Look for the type of crack you’re dealing with, whereas a hairline crack shouldn’t be anything to be concerned about and are likely from surface shrinking. If you find perimeter cracks, the concrete floor likely shrunk away from the foundation walls. If you find that the floor has cracked and started to slab upward, then you likely have an issue with soil expansion and this should be addressed immediately.

badly cracked concrete

The good news is that you can simply get colored cement paste and patching materials to fill in most of these cracks and make it solid again, but if you were looking for a change that is more than some paste and an area rug, it may be time to remodel with something else.

Moisture

As mentioned before, moisture can get in the home and affect areas like your concrete floor. If you have a below-grade basement, the moisture may have been moving up from underneath the slab making it damp and damaging it. You can reseal the concrete to avoid poor soil drainage or a leaky gutter, but there also may be better materials to replace it with that will suit your family’s needs better.

It’s not working for your needs

Speaking of your needs, you may find that concrete flooring is not cutting it for your family’s lifestyle or overall design preferences. The hardness of concrete is not forgiving which means that glasses will be broken that fall on it and children may get hurt playing near it.

While a soft rug can help with this problem, you may find that a fresh floor is what your family needs. You can still enjoy a hard surface like a vinyl flooring option, but these won’t be so hard as to hurt someone that falls.

When you want those concrete floors

Some people are looking to start incorporating those concrete floors in the home. Whether you are looking for a fresh concrete floor to remodel an outdated one or you want to add one into your home design, these are going to be a beautiful addition.

They are now considered a luxurious finish because you can enjoy many different kinds of colors and stains, textures with rubber stencils, and it can even mimic other materials like brick, natural stone, and ceramic tiles. In your new construction, you can even add heated floors into your design; the perfect addition to a bathroom or basement.

What’s even better is that these are actually one of the lowest maintenance flooring options because they are durable and easy to care for with a little sweeping and mopping to freshen them up. A trendy option right now is the polished concrete style of flooring in which you get a smooth and more decorative surface than the traditional concrete flooring.

If you have any of these signs going on in your home, it’s time to reassess your current flooring and give your home an update. Use this guide to decide if it’s right for you!

3 Types of Room Additions that can Increase Home Value

Adding onto your home is a great way to revamp a space that isn’t entirely working for you without switching to a new one completely. That’s why many choose to add on space that would make a big difference for their current situation which may not have been needed before or may be needed in the future.

While you may be thinking of turning that extra bedroom into a home office or a children’s play area, you can actually go about investing into a room addition that will expand common spaces like your kitchen. Take a look at the three types of room additions that you should consider to increase your home value.

Expanding your Kitchen

You may have never considered that one of the most common spaces in your home could be made bigger than it is and it’s not tied to the size it is now. This is referring to your kitchen where you spend all of your time feeding your family. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more dinner guests over or have more space to prep food for the week?

You don’t have to continue working with a smaller kitchen; expand your kitchen and you’ll actually add value to your home.  If you’re working with a cramped space that is hard to maneuver through, you’ll find that an expansion is the perfect way to make cooking in the kitchen fun again.

While you may like the look and feel of your kitchen, you’ll never be able to place a larger table in the space, give yourself more prep space, or replace your old appliances with something larger. Adding on to the kitchen will not only help make your daily kitchen needs more comfortable, but it will increase your home value.

Add on Another Bathroom

Don’t you hate how you have to share a bathroom with so many other family members and you can never quite enjoy getting ready each morning in peace?

It might be time for a bathroom add-on. Between the kids getting ready for school and parents getting ready for work, there is already so many trying to use the bathrooms you do have all at once. In addition, when you have house guests or friends stop by, now there are more people fighting for use of that one main bathroom. Adding on a bathroom is going to make a huge difference!

Your bathroom addition will not only resolve these situations, but plenty of bathrooms is also what home buyers are looking for. If you don’t have enough bathrooms currently, you may struggle to find a buyer that is interested in closing. Instead, take the guesswork out by adding on a bathroom and/or updating and remodeling your current one to increase the value and make your living space better functioning for your family.

small home addition - likely a bathroom

Add Another Story

While you may have thought about adding on to current spaces in your home to improve the appeal or function, it’s time to think out the box. What would it look like to add on a second story? This could be either a downstairs living area or it could be an upstairs suite.

This is a huge way to increase your home value and also appeal to potential buyers when it’s time to sell. While this is a huge money investment now, it will increase your home’s square footage, improve appeal for buyers, and give you a whole new outlook on your home’s function. This is a great way to create that master suite you’ve been dreaming or that area for the older kids to get together downstairs.

These three examples of room additions are exactly what you need to bring new life to the home while also increasing your home value in the process.

Where to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck in a Home Remodel

Home remodels are a great way to spruce up a home whether your budget is big or small. A project that renovates a room, an area of the home, or a system in the home will make an impact on the entire home.

home remodel - new cabinets

Sometimes a simple kitchen spruce up or some landscaping work will take an average home to one that feels more like a beautiful space to live and thrive in. You can find the biggest bang for your buck when you choose remodeling jobs such as the ones below.

Painting

What’s better than a fresh coat of paint that changes the whole mood of a room? This is an area worth spending on the higher quality paint products to make sure you get it right the first time. Bring home some paint samples to see what it’s going to look like in different lighting and what mood the room evokes with different shades.

You can brighten the trim up with high-gloss paint in a lighter color to really bring out a fresh look to a room. A good neutral color like gray or white will allow for more decorating varieties in other areas of the room.

Flooring

Another area that is going to change the whole look of a room with one simple change is your flooring. Many older homes have old carpet that reminds you that the home is old. Changing out that old carpet for everything fresh will feel great for your family.

Many modern homes are going with hardwood flooring now because of how beautiful it makes a room while also giving the homeowner an easier floor to maintain. Change to a hard floor in your common spaces, carpet in your bedrooms, and tile in your bathrooms for a fresh look and feel.

Bathroom

Whether you’re buying a home or remodeling your own, a bathroom update will make a house feel so much fresher and newer. There are so many great finishes that modern bathrooms are using, from beautiful vanities to luxurious shower tiles.

Sometimes all it takes is a good re-grouting job on your tiles, but it might be time to update that bathroom and incorporate a brand new tub, shower head, vanity, paint, and flooring. You might as well update your towels and bathroom accessories too!

Kitchen

Kitchens can feel like an overwhelming and expensive job, but it’s easy to remodel parts of the room to make this shared space feel so much more welcoming. Putting in new cabinets or painting the ones you have will make a bold statement in the room, just as a new counter top or backsplash would.

If you want to change everything, update appliances, sinks and faucets, hardware, and cabinets. Otherwise, it may be time to add in a kitchen island or touch up one of the mentioned areas for a fresh look.

Energy efficiency

You’ll experience a huge bang for your buck when you update a home with more energy efficiency in mind. Energy efficient upgrades won’t be as noticeable aesthetically as your bathroom and kitchen updates, but you’ll find that your wallet will thank you. You can upgrade the HVAC, windows, water heaters, or even install solar panels. These will all give you a positive return on your investment. 

Basement and attic

If you’ve been putting up finishing your basement or attic, this might be the project that really needs your attention. A finished basement or attic could lead to more common spaces, another bedroom, or another area of the home to work on your favorite hobbies. Many people can convert that basement r attic into a guest room, a wet bar, or a man cave.

Exterior

Lastly, don’t forget how much the exterior affects everyday life. Your landscaping can add color to the home which will be beautiful to look at as you sit on a brand new deck or patio addition. Add some outdoor lights, a fire pit, and a fresh coat of paint to the home and you’ll find you have an area of the home that everyone will want to gather.

These are a few ways that you can get the most bang for your buck in a home remodel.

The Most Common Reasons You May Require a Change Order During Your Build

When you build a home, you may end up with a change order during the building process. This order is an official request for more funds and/or time to complete the revised contractual obligations. There are several reasons a change order may be needed during your build.

Usually, a construction change order is related to about five different issues. They may be a bit of a pain to deal with, but sometimes, a change order is necessary. Here are some of the most common reasons you may need a change order while building your home.

Design Changes

It's rather common for a design change to cause a change order during the building process. Maybe the builder or developer started construction without a completed project scope or something happened to cause a design change to become necessary. This is most common with design-build projects, where the design can be worked on during the building process.

Drawing Errors

When an error or omission happens with the drawing, it could cause a change order. It may be something as simple as an inadequate detail or a failure to have a complete set of drawings created. Errors and omissions happen and they often cause change orders during the building process.

Soil Issues

A less common reason for change orders, but still rather common is a soil issue. This is a bit more unforeseen as it can happen and nobody really expected it to happen. When an inadequate soil study is done, it can lead to challenges builders were not prepared for. This can lead to a necessary change order to ensure the build can be completed properly.

Substitutions

Maybe your home building plan included specific materials that have since become unavailable. When there's a shortage of necessary supplies, a substitution has to be made, which results in a change order. This will include a request for a credit if the cost of the new materials is less than the original materials.

Another type of substitution that could cause a change order is when the owner decides on an upgrade during the construction process. This may cause a larger amount of money to be necessary to cover the cost of the better materials used during the construction process.

Poor Budgets or Schedules

Sometimes, the budget was poorly thought out or the construction schedule wasn't very good. This may cause a change order to be necessary as the work may not be delivered on time or within budget. Of course, delays from weather and unforeseen circumstances can also cause a change order to be necessary.

Change orders can be costly if they are not handled properly. They can lead to more issues if the change order isn't dealt with promptly. Make sure you hire a home builder that knows how to anticipate change orders and handle them quickly so that your project will stay on schedule and get completed on time or close to on time.

3 Tips for Building a Home Office

When it's time to build a custom home, you may be considering building a home office within that home. This is a great time to make sure you get the home office you've been dreaming about and Powell Custom Homes can certainly help.

Even if you're not building a home, you may want a few tips to help with building a home office. Here are a few tips you can use to ensure you get the most out of your new home office, whether adding it to your current home or designing it within your new custom home.

Plenty of Light

Those planning to add a home office to their custom home will want to make sure the office will receive plenty of natural light and plenty of light in general. Design in a few windows or even a skylight to ensure you'll receive plenty of natural light.

Once you've designed the home office to take advantage of the sun as much as possible, you want to add in ambient lights. These lights can help to compliment the natural light and give you plenty of light in your home office once the sun has set for the day.

While ambient light is helpful, you really want to ensure your new home office will get plenty of natural light. One study found that workers getting more natural light sleep better, while another found workplaces with natural light provide more productivity. 

Function over Form

When you're designing your new home office, you want to make sure function comes first. While the space should be aesthetically appealing, it has to function in a productive way, as well.

Consider your workflow within the office before you start investing in furniture. You may even want a few built-in shelves or storage solutions if you're designing the office into your new custom home.

While it's always nice to have a home office that looks great, make sure it functions well, too. Consider every piece of furniture and how it will work within your new space.

Consider More than Just a Desk

Your home office certainly needs to be a place to get work done. However, it should also be a place to relax and get some thinking done, when necessary. Sometimes, you just need a place to kick back, do a little reading, or just let your mind wander.

Consider adding space for a comfortable chair and an ottoman. You may also want to add in a table for your beverages and even a lamp to allow you to get some reading done, when necessary.

Whether you need to look over the numbers or read the latest trade journal, adding space for more than just work is important. Your desk is for the day-to-day work, but adding space for a chair will give you a bit of an escape right inside your home office.

There are several things to consider when designing your home office. If you're building a custom home and adding a home office into it, you want to make sure it's just right. Powell Custom Homes can help you design the perfect home office for your specific needs.

home office setting

How to Know When a Room Addition May Be Right for You

Adding onto your home is a solution many homeowners have gone within the past. It’s a great way to add some space, get a designated area for a need you are trying to meet and to increase the home’s value for someday when it’s time to move on.

At the same time, it’s going to be expensive, there may be some building restrictions, and sometimes there are better options. Take a look at this guide to determining the reasons you should choose room addition and when there are times that there may be better solutions.

room addition with vaulted ceiling

The costs involved

The first area to consider is what you are going to spend to complete a project like this. This will vary depending on what kind of room you are trying to add on, with a bedroom or living room being a larger space compared to a bathroom or sunroom which may be less expensive.

It could cost you anywhere between $200 and $600 per square foot as a rough estimate. Some people choose to refinance to cover the cost of the addition while lenders may also offer construction loans if the future property value is going to be great after the improvement.

The average cost of adding a room is $41,000 but you could see a return of up to 49% on a sunroom addition, 63% on a master suite, and 53% on a bathroom addition. You’ll have to get estimates when it comes to things like new flooring, adding windows, support beams, and pouring concrete.

Building restrictions to watch for

In most cases, there are going to be building restrictions you’ll need to be aware of. You’ll have to check with your city and county offices on the specifics of your area. You may not be able to build all of the way to your lot line because some areas will require space for protection during a house fire. You could also run into restrictions with height when adding on.

How to build and who to hire

Another area to consider is how you are going to build on, whether you choose to build up or build out while staying within your restrictions. Building up means that you won’t have to pay for excavation or foundation but it can be complicated and you’ll have to watch for obstructing a neighbor’s view if there are regulations.

Building out can be much simpler, but you’ll have to work with the land you have and the regulations. A build-out of a garage or guesthouse can be a great addition to a home and you have the option to make it detached.

You’ll likely want to hire someone to build this for you, but don’t forget that working with a local architect will also assist if the project is going to be more complicated. They can help you determine how to add onto the second floor with new stairs or how to add a closet to a room without interfering with the rest of the layout. A local contractor can help with the whole project if it’s less complicated such as with adding on a patio, extra room, or sunroom. Or, simply contact Powell Custom Homes and we’ll do it all for you!

How will the construction affect my home life?

In addition to the expense, you’ll also be inconvenienced during the build. It may bring noise into the home, being unable to use that area of the home, and there will be a mess. If you are expanding your kitchen, you may not be able to cook in there until it’s done.

If you are working from home, you may need to find another office space during the noise of the job. Don’t count on your household being able to function just as normal during the build because most likely you’ll need to be flexible and you’ll be inconvenienced. It’s all worth it for the end result.

If these scenarios don’t sound like something you want to sacrifice for, you may consider if it’s more sensible to simply remodel a space you already have, rearrange your home to work with the addition you were hoping for or to move to a house that better suits your needs. It’s going to cost money to add on a room, especially for the labor and the contractor or architect required to make it happen, and it will cost you time rearranging your life to account for the interruption and to get everyone hired and building restrictions accounted for to make this all happen.

Consider if a room addition is right for your home by looking over these tips and considering your situation. Once you have that added room though, you’ll be relieved to have the space you’ve always dreamed

The Importance of Excavation in the Home Building Process

It doesn't matter how amazing your new custom home is if it was built on a bad foundation. Excavation may be the most important part of the home building process.

Every building site comes with unique characteristics and the site must be prepared for the foundation. Without proper excavating, the foundation of your new home may not be all it needs to be. Here are some of the important things you may go through during the excavation of your home site.

Site Clearing

The first step in the process is often clearing the site. This step will remove any unwanted trees and other plants, along with rocks and boulders. Tree stumps will be removed and vegetation may be cut down to the proper height.

Home Site Staking

Once the site has been cleared, a home site can be staked to show where the foundation will be laid and the home will be built. Usually, this includes placing four markers in the four corners of the future home. Then, a diagonal measurement will be taken and the length and width will be verified.

Layout Design

After staking out the site, often, builders will design the layout of the home including plans for patios, planters, steps, walkways and other structures. This helps to give you a general idea of where everything will go and how it will all fit onto the site.

Preparing the Site for Building

Excavation will also include digging out the areas staked out to ensure vegetation is removed and proper drainage is added. Footers may be placed around the slab of the foundation and other steps may be taken, such as digging a trench below the frost line.

backhoe excavating for a new home

Slab Support Material and Drainage

Laying the proper gravel down will make a difference in the process. Builders will also place drainage pipes and make sure the site is level before laying the foundation.

Digging Sewer Drainage Trenches

Trenches must also be dug for the sewer drainage pipes. This is a vital step in the process as the sewer drainage pipes are very important to the excavation process.

Excavating the Driveway

While the home site must be excavated for the foundation, the driveway space also needs to be excavated. This includes removal of trees, boulders, shrubs, and other plants. Often, gravel will be used to reach the desired height and leveled. In addition, the excavators will ensure the driveway shape is created and drainage is considered.

While the excavation process does include laying the foundation, it's far more intricate than just digging a hole and pouring some concrete. The process involved setting up all the proper drainage, laying sewer pipes and plenty more. It's the most important part of the entire building process as you must have a strong foundation for your home.

If the excavation process isn't properly done, it can lead to future issues. Make sure you choose a home builder willing to ensure the excavation process is done correctly. With a strong foundation, your new home can stand the test of time.

How Best to Communicate with Your Home Builder

When you've made the decision to build a custom home, you'll be filled with excitement, nerves, and maybe feel a bit stressed. It's quite a journey and it's important to ensure you get the home you're picturing when you first start the process.

Choosing the right custom home builder is a great start, but you need to be able to communicate with your builder, too. Without clear communication, you may not get what you want. Here are a few great tips to help you communicate with your home builder.

Custom Home builder holding blueprints envisioning a home

Choose Your Preferred Communication Method

It's best to choose the way you prefer to communicate and let the builder know this is how you will be communicating. Whether you prefer to talk face-to-face, over the phone, or via email, you need to inform your builder so they will be on the same page.

You should also discuss how often you would like to communicate and even meet with your builder. You need to feel comfortable, so make sure you choose a custom home builder willing to communicate in the way you prefer.

Don't be Shy

If you don't speak up, your builder won't know what you want. Make sure you say what you think and communicate your feelings. If you don't like a paint color, say so. If you prefer a specific type of tile for the bathroom, don't be shy, tell your builder.

It's better to speak up than to end up with something you don't like. Ask questions, tell your builder what you're thinking, and make sure you're honest or you could end up with features of your home you really don't like.

Avoid Blaming

When the project has started and something doesn't go quite as planned, it can be easy to want to place blame. It doesn't matter whose fault it was, as long as a solution can be found and the issue can be resolved.

Instead of placing blame, take the time to communicate with your builder to find a solution to the problem. Most issues can easily be solved with the right communication.

Get Regular Status Updates

You should never feel like you're just left out of the process with no clue how far along your custom home is during the building process. You need to know what's going on and regular status updates should be scheduled ahead of time.

Yes, delays happen and things come up, but a weekly email or even a bi-weekly phone call can be a great way to know where your home is in the building process. You need to be an active participant in the process and regular status updates will help to ensure you know what's going on with your new home.

One of the most important parts of guaranteeing you get the home of your dreams is communicating with the builder. It's important to use the tips above and build a great working relationship with your builder to ensure you get the best custom home you could possibly imagine. Contact Powell Custom Homes today for all your home building needs in the Kalamazoo area!