Regulations Columbus Home Owners Need to Know Before Remodeling

Since the economy has started improving, a growing number of Columbus citizens are remodeling their homes. According to research from Nielsen, 55% of Ohio residents worked on a home improvement project in 2013. Many homeowners don’t understand or follow building ordinances, which can lead to fines or other serious consequences. Read more

Ten Tips for Designing a More Practical Kitchen

Functionality:

1) Make sure that your storage cabinets, microwave oven, cutlery, etc.… are all within arm’s reach. What use is your storage space if you cannot reach it easily? It would only serve to increase the time it takes to cook and prepare food, while being really annoying at the same time. A design where anything and everything is easily accessible is at the heart of practically designed kitchen.

2) One should also consider modern-kitcheneliminating wasted steps that are spent running around looking for cooking utensils. Perhaps once you get to the knives and forks they are easily enough obtained, but a layout where all the cooking can be done with the least amount of steps is a way to prevent mishaps before they happen. For example, let us say you are frying up an onion, but your stove top and countertop are on the opposite sides of the kitchen. If you get too caught up preparing food to be cooked on one side, you may forget that the onions are busy frying and then have to run back and forth when the stove and countertop could have just been placed side by side.

3) The paths and walkways of your kitchen should be accommodating of traffic with enough width to allow people to pass through but without having to interrupt any cooking. The standard should be 36 inches at least for walkways, 42 inches (one cook kitchen) or 48 inches (two cook kitchen) for cooking paths.

4) Plan your kitchen in such a way that all the cabinet doors open easily with nothing in the way to block their swing path.

5) Having an island is often a great addition to a kitchen, but what kind depends on the layout of your kitchen. If you plan to put the oven and or stove in the island make sure you have sufficient space to still keep practicality in your kitchen.  If you plan to eat on the counter top, make sure there is enough space between the cooking area and the dining area.

Practicality:

6) Knives can be stored, on the wall above the cooking space, on a magnetic strip. This area is known as the backsplash. This makes it easier to spot the right knife for the task at hand as well as being out of reach of small children.

RecycleBin4 00037) Make your kitchen recycle friendly by having enough space for recycling bins, such as plastic, glass, tin and even a spare cupboard for paper.

8) Having an extended hose attached to the sink water facet, makes it easy and convenient to fill large pots with water quickly. Because the hose is movable and manageable, it also makes it convenient to quickly rinse or fill whatever is at hand.

9) Place power outlets all along the backsplash of the cooking area and on the island so that there is never a struggle with finding electricity when you need it, where you need it.

10) A very nice addition to any kitchen is a message centre. It can simply be a place for a telephone, important notes, numbers, dates, shopping list, etc…

3 Factors That Will Drive the Columbus Housing Market in 2015

The Columbus housing market has been growing rapidly over the past couple of years. A recent report from RealtyTrac found that repossessions in the city and major Ohio cities decreased 13% over the past year, while they increased 23% throughout most of the rest of the country. Jim Weiker of The Columbus Dispatch recently cited research showing that in 2013, prices increased 4.5% and sales increased by 17%. There are a number of factors that show that the housing market will continue to gain momentum in the coming year.

Reasons the Columbus Housing Market Continue to Grow

The Columbus housing market faced one of the steepest columbus-skyline-thinkstock-304xx2122-1415-0-0declines during the recession. However, it has also proven to be one of the most robust since the recovery took hold. Here are some of the redeeming economic variables that will drive the market in the coming year.

Stronger Labor Market

Research from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business predicts that Columbus will create 1,500 jobs in the coming year. Strong growth will fuel demand for housing, which will invariably drive housing prices in 2015.

Removing Condemned Properties

During the economic downturn, thousands of properties were repossessed. Many of those properties have begun to deteriorate after sitting on the market for the past several years. A recent report from   Attorney General, Mike DeWine states that the state recognizes the problems those properties have caused and provided grants to demolish 1,300 damaged units. Since disarrayed properties reduced values of surrounding properties, tearing them down should boost the rest of the market.

New Affordable Housing Initiatives

The housing shortage has been a serious concern in Columbus over the past few years. While limited demand is generally expected to increase the value of housing, shortages can actually cause values in some areas to drop, because homeless people may cluster in some areas and lower income residents may leave the community if they are unable to find a place to stay to get on their feet.

The city has recently pledged to use state and federal grants to create three new complexes to expand affordable housing units. These units should increase the quality of life for many residents in the community, which could in turn drive values of other properties.

Columbus Housing Market Expected to Thrive in 2015

The Columbus housing market has risen sharply over the last couple of years. The rebound is expected to continue through 2015, due to many local government initiatives. As a result, the next RealtyTrac report will likely show that prices have risen sharply.

Remodeling Estimates often do not provide enough information to make an informed decision

We recently started into the design phase of a major remodeling project with a Bexley, Ohio homeowner.  While we were discussing some details, they shared with me that they had spoken with 3 or 4 other contractors last summer and fall.  They got “free estimates” from these companies but they felt something very critical was missing in the process. They then called us.  They told me that while all of the companies were “nice”,  it was our design/build way of approaching remodeling projects that made complete sense to them.  It was the “ah ha” moment in which they discovered that we were providing what they didn’t know they had been looking for.

This homeowner had experienced what many homeowners experience when talking to different companies about their remodeling project… “The free estimate”.  Free estimates are great for getting new gutters, new windows, new siding, and a host of other projects.  But when it comes to taking on a major remodeling project such as a kitchen, bathroom, basement, or whole house remodel, it leads to confusion (and often trouble) for the homeowner.  The problem with estimates for a remodeling project is that the estimate is based on lots of assumptions.  These assumptions usually are what lead to being “change ordered to death” by a contractor once the project is started.  I am not saying that this is intentional.  Often times it is a well-intentioned contractor.

 

If a homeowner gets three estimates for a major remodeling project (the age old wisdom), they can be certain of one thing, that they will not be comparing apples to apples for the said project.  When people share with me that they have had other estimates, I ask them if the complete design has been done, all of the specifications clarified on a detailed level, and all of the products identified and picked out.  I have never heard someone tell me that yes they have all of this completed.  The truth about remodeling is that until these things are done, it is not possible to give someone a price for a project.  There are too simply many variables.

 

Planning a project is just as important (and perhaps more important in some cases) as the actual building of the project.  This is why whenever we meet with a homeowner to discuss a project, we start by asking a lot of questionsWe want to understand the way that this project is going to function for them, how long they plan on being in the home, what unique features are most desirable.  What are the essentials?  What is on the wish list?  We do not like to try to provide any potential solutions until we thoroughly understand what they are seeking.  It is also during this question and answer session that we get to know each other.  After all, if we are going to be working in their home, we want to make sure that there is a feeling of trust with us.

 

Once we go through this Q&A session we then discuss the budget.  We want to make sure that the desired project will fit within the budget that the homeowner has established for the project.  If it is established that we would be a fit for each other then this is where there would be an investment on the part of the homeowner in order to move forward into the design phase. This is where we prepare to work together to come up with a design, full detailed scope of work, select all the products, and involve our specialty trades team so that we can take all of this gathered information to correctly price the project.  This process is what is referred to as Design/Build.  This Design/Build way of Remodeling is recognized as a “best practices” approach by NARI (The National Association of the remodeling industry).  NARI is uniquely dedicated to providing homeowners information about remodeling that is trusted, qualified, ethical and dependable.

What makes for a Positive Remodeling Experience?

While the focus of our efforts revolves primarily around providing well built, quality bathrooms to our clients throughout Columbus and Central, Ohio this is a question I think is worthy for not only all types of remodeling services, but in many areas of exchanges in commerce.

Last night, on a particularly beautiful spring evening, I went out for a walk on Hoover Dam up in Westerville.  I found myself thinking about this question.  I have had many stories related to me from numerous people over the years regarding their varied remodeling experiences.  I was thinking about (what really does) make for a positive experience for people engaging in any type of relationship or arrangement with any sort of business.  What separates the companies that are better than others or worse than others?  After all, people make mistakes every day.  Some larger, some smaller.  Everyone has stories of something that occurred or things gone wrong, or accidents, in their own lives and in the lives of people they know.

On every remodeling project there are many people involved in the project: from suppliers, to manufacturers, to shipping companies, subcontractors, our team, etc.  What has allowed for the advancement in society and technology is in people becoming experts in one area and then building off and sharing this knowledge in a way that is beneficial to the whole.  But there is always some possibility for an error somewhere along the way.  I have seen HGTV and other shows highlighting things from rebuilding a house, to tearing out a terrible looking landscape, to building storage solutions.  Even in these shows, in which they have everything lined up perfectly with lots of people on staff, and each with their own unique task… there are things that go wrong.  Perhaps the truck breaks down that is suppose to bring a crucial component,  a miscommunication happens, a broken part shows up, or tile shows up with small defects in it upon careful scrutiny and it is going to take a week to get new tile.

In projects of all types of areas things sometimes happen, people make mistakes, or no one made a mistake but something was manufactured incorrectly and not known about till it was to be installed. What we strive to do best is relate with each other and our clients in a way that every person involved has an important role to play and this truly is a team-oriented approach.  Our Clients are part of our team on every project.

An Attitude of Trust, Relaxed Co-operation, and Wanting to always do our Best in Every Circumstance

I think the crucial key to a successful and positive experience during a project is for every member of the team to have a certain type of sincere desire to understand clearly the problems when they do arise and an attitude of wanting to provide the best solutions that make the most sense for each situation. It is also imperative that each person on the team trust and respect one another while acknowledging that we all have certain strengths (in different areas) to bring to each project.  Quite simply: an attitude of fairness toward others and desire to do one’s best, and to try to always consider every situation from the standpoint of how another may be viewing it – understanding of another’s viewpoint.

Most everyone has heard stories about bad experiences with contractors (usually always when a situation got stressful or tense) when they got angry or became extremely negative.  This is when the conflict began.  Something occurred in which in some way, the opportunity to work through a difficulty or variance of understandings between the parties involved went awry.   I think it is imperative look at any difficulty as an opportunity to work through something in a shared way with people, and to do this in a way which values people and the relationships with people as much as the project itself.  This is the nature of every project from the very beginning.  Every project begins with a problem.  The process of getting from the beginning problem to the final solution is what is important. The interactions that occur, the way things are worked through – an experience of a positive internal feeling about the project and the parties involved naturally happens.

I have witnessed over and over our team members performing in ways or acting in ways that I feel proud of having them a part of our team,  I also feel fortunate to have worked with very good people (in our Clients) over the years.