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Types of Contractor Estimates

there are different types of contractor estimates

There are different types of contractor estimates. Understanding how the different estimates work can make the dialog between homeowners and contractors more comfortable. Everyone has heard contractor horror stories, and there isn’t a contractor out there who doesn’t have a homeowner horror story or two … although a professional will never bad mouth a previous client to a potential client.  

The key to a successful relationship with your contractor is communication. It is crucial to establish a relationship so you feel comfortable asking questions as the project progresses.

As a homeowner you must have a good understanding of the work you are... 

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Take Care When Digging a Hole

digging a hole is fun & work when it's for home repairs

You’re ready to plant some new shrubs in your backyard when a neighbor walks over and asks if you’ve checked to see where the utility lines are? You don’t know what he’s talking about – it’s your yard, and you assume you can do anything you want there but you’re wrong.

Digging that hole is not as simple as digging sand at the beach. You may own your property and control what happens above ground but utility companies have buried pipes and lines underneath your land. The lines are already there and you don’t want to damage them as you might end... 

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Home Warranties Provide Buyer Security

a home warranty reduces the risk of serious problems needing repairs

Home warranties make a a home more attractive to prospective buyers because they’re protected from major repairs during their first year of ownership when they’re getting familiar with their new home. Sellers will often pay for a home warranty to make their home more attractive and many homeowners maintain their warranty year-after-year to avoid worrying about replacing major home systems or appliance when required.

There are different types of home warranties depending on whether you’re buying an existing or new home. You’ll should read the fine print for any home warranty to understand what’s covered and the rules you must follow to... 

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Estimates: How Honest or Simply Sales?

estimates consider the time used to buy supplies

Remodeling and home repair estimates are a lot like store price tags on clothes. For those who only want to buy things on sale, you tend to pick the lowest price. With clothing, you may forget about the seam that splits open on the first washing or turtleneck sweaters where the elasticity doesn’t last through one season … or like me, you might recognize the problem and change where you shop for clothing.

So let me share some real stories from my experience running my businesses, as you might have one or two stories while we have lots of stories from working... 

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Building Costs: More Than Just Square Footage

Every Corner Changes Cost

Building costs are tied to the number of square feet in a house. But, as the size of a house increases, the cost per square foot goes down because you can spread the cost of excavation, the foundation and exterior envelope, and the heating and cooling systems across more square feet.

Costs are also affected by the  complexity of the house design. For example, in the photo to the left, rather than a room that’s rectangular with 4 corners, there are at least 10 corners (7 visible in the photo) and that takes more labor and materials to build.

That’s a fairly simple... 

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Custom Houses: Matching Exterior House Style with Location

custom houses

Custom houses are something we all dream about, yet few people turn those dreams into reality. What if you want a contemporary, custom house but most of the custom houses on the street are traditional? This happens a lot in New England if you don’t want to move into a development of all new homes because they look too much alike.

An experience architect will help you explore different exterior home styles and design a home that meets your taste and fits your  neighborhood. You see, it’s not just the shape of the house, but also the windows, siding, front door and... 

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Find the Custom Home Builder For You

custom home builders

Finding the perfect custom home builder  can have its challenges. There are several types of builders, so you need to determine what kind of home builder is right for you, based on your requirements and budget.

Starting at the top, there are “high end luxury home builders” in contrast to “community or production builders” who build hundreds of homes each year. In the middle, are smaller “custom home builders” who stay actively involved in your project from beginning to end.

High End, Luxury Custom Home Builders

High end and luxury custom home builders typically maintain high overhead. They work out of expensive offices and... 

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Do You Love Open Floor Plans?

stairs open floor plan

When you think about an open floor plan, you are likely to think of a kitchen/family room combination and if it has tall ceilings, you might call it a great room. Unbelievably, barns offered the first open floor plans with their post and beam construction allowed large, interior spaces without traditional walls to create separate rooms.

Frank Lloyd Wright introduced the “open plan” concept in the design of his Prairie Houses (beginning in 1900). These houses had extended low buildings with shallow, sloping roofs, overhangs and terraces, and tall windows that connected the home’s interior with the outdoors. Wright was... 

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Building Blocks Teach Building Concepts

Children's building blocks teach home building concepts

When you’re struggling to understand how your home is built, sometimes it’s better to forget the details and go back to the basics. Your home is very complicated but only when you try to absorb all the puzzle pieces together. When you separate out the individual systems and components, it’s a bit easier to learn the basics.

Do you remember building things as a child? Did you enjoy the challenge of balancing building blocks to see how high you could stack the blocks before they’d tumbled down? The reason why we can learn and transfer these concepts is that gravity and... 

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Interior Home Features & When to Replace Them

Homeowners often update their flooring with bamboo or a locally grown hardwood

Most of your inside home features aren’t as critical as your roof, although a furnace that stops working in the winter or an air conditioner on a 90 degree day would be a problem. You can probably survive with a microwave if your stove stops working but what about your refrigerator? You’ll have to scramble and buy a new refrigerator fast or you’ll lose your food. It’s really better if you don’t get caught in this situation, as you might end up with a new appliance that isn’t ideal but it’s the only one they can deliver tomorrow.

There are 2... 

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