Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Our kitchens are the heart of our home. They are the place where our families gather and memories are built which makes them one of the most important features in our home.
This is why it is so important to choose a kitchen a certified kitchen remodeler. Why trust one of the most important places in your home to anyone less?
Friday, May 21, 2010
Plan your Project
Think your project through from start to finish. Develop an idea of what is actually necessary versus what is wanted. Items that are wanted can often times be added at a later time and can substantially drive up the cost of a project. Go through the entire design process, and try to have as many of selections, such as appliances, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, paint colors countertops, etc., chosen before talking to a contractor. The more of these items that you have chosen the less gray areas there are in an estimate, and the better chance you have of being able to compare apples to apples when reviewing estimates from multiple contractors. Pay attention to what type of repairs might be necessary on your home. Many times these are not factored into the original estimate or budgetary planning, but they become “while you are here” items and can drive up the cost of a project.
Determine your Budget
Come up with a budget of what you would like to spend before talking to a contractor. You may need to talk to a lender to develop a definitive budget. Take into account that projects tend to increase, and not decrease in cost, so plan accordingly. A good rule of thumb is to save 10-20% of your budget for increases to the original scope of work. Be wary of entering into a project if it is right at the maximum of your budget because any changes could cause enormous heartache and stress. Do not be afraid to speak in plain terms about your budget to a contractor. More often then not with a simple phone call to a contractor can determine if your budget is appropriate for the work you want to perform or if you budget is unrealistic.
Look at contractors with established businesses in your area, and make sure they are properly licensed and insured. Ask to see a certificate of their insurance to verify coverage and to see that they have workers compensation, general liability and property damage coverage in the amount appropriate for your project. Ask for and check their references, even if they are have been recommended by a friend or associate. Ask if they have recently completed a project similar to yours.
Insist on a Contract
Be sure the contract includes the contractor’s name, address, phone and license number (if applicable). Detail what the contractor will and will not do. Your contractor should detail a list of materials for the project in your contract. This includes size, color, model, brand name and product. The contract should include the approximate start date and substantial completion dates. Study all required plans carefully. Insist that you approve them and that they are identified in your written contract before any work begins. Federal law requires a contractor to give you written notice of your right to cancel a contract, without penalty, within three business days of signing it, provided it was solicited at some place (for instance, your home) other than the contractor’s place of business or appropriate trade premises or has financing provision. Make sure financial terms are understood and spelled out in the contract. The total price, payment schedule, and any cancellation penalty should be clear.
A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year should be written into the contract. The warranty must be identified as either "full" or "limited." The name and address of the party who will honor the warranty (contractor, distributor or manufacturer) must be identified. Make sure the time period for the warranty is specified.
A binding arbitration clause is also a good inclusion in the event a disagreement occurs. Arbitration may enable you to resolve disputes without costly litigation.
Thoroughly review the entire contract and be certain you understand it before signing it. Consider the scope of the project and make sure all items you’ve requested are included. If you do not see a specific item in the contract, consider it not included. Never sign an incomplete contract. Always keep a copy of the final document for your records.
Plan for Inconvenience
Be prepared for inconvenience. A remodeling project can and will disrupt your traditional daily routine. Most likely workers will be in your personal space at inopportune times so plan accordingly. Ask to be notified as to when services may be turned off, such as water or power. Move items of value off adjacent walls and out of the construction zone. Even items in nearby rooms, such as wall hangings, can be damaged by vibration. Prepare for dust and have extra HVAC filters for monthly replacement. Even regular filter changes and the best planning can not keep drywall dust out of your living spaces. Maintain a sense of humor, and realize that a remodeling project is an adventure. Remember everyday brings a change for the better and a improvement to your home!
Friday, April 23, 2010
The Internal Revenue Code section 25C tax credit for existing homes, which had expired at the end of 2007, was reinstated as part of the economic rescue package passed by the Bush Administration last fall. Homeowners could be rewarded for installing energy-efficient windows, doors, roofing and insulation as well as furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps.
But remodelers found that the terms of the 25C credit -- equal to only 10 percent of the cost of each product and with a lifetime cap of $500 -- weren't strong enough to push enough home owners off the fence and into action.
Now, the credit rate and lifetime cap have been tripled - to 30 percent and $1,500, respectively - the list of eligible improvements expanded, and the deadline for applying has been extended through the end of 2010. Congressional estimates indicate that the new rules for the tax incentive will increase aggregate remodeling activity by more than $6 billion.
"The new tax credit also aligns with industry research indicating that even the most aggressive efficiency goals for new homes won't make a dent in overall energy consumption. Instead, remodeling and retrofitting the nation's older homes is by far the more efficient solution," said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Greg Miedema, CGR, CGB, CAPS, a remodeler from Tucson, Ariz.
"These new tax credits are another way that home building industry can combat the potential effects of global climate change by encouraging home owners to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes," said Miedema.
A 2008 California study revealed that 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions related to single-family envelope energy consumption can be attributed to homes built before 1983.
The bottom line: Retrofitting existing homes with energy-efficient features is four to eight times more carbon- and cost-efficient than adding further energy-efficiency requirements to new housing, the study showed.
TAX CREDIT HOW-TO
Details on qualifying improvements will soon be available at the IRS Website . It is expected that homeowners will need to complete Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits) and submit as part of their 2009 income tax returns to claim the credit. Further, homeowners should retain for their own records information that includes:
- Name and address of the manufacturer
- Identification of the component
- Make, model or other appropriate identifiers
- Statement that the component meets the 25C standards
- Climate zones for which the criteria are satisfied
- Additional information for storm windows, if applicable
- A declaration that the certification statement is true
By Charles Bevier
Thursday, February 25, 2010
At the 2009 National Association of Remodeling Industries prestigious Contractor of the Year Awards(CotY's).
The DiFabion Remodeling team was recognized for excellence in the remodeling industry in the Charlotte region. We are proud to announce we received 5 awards in the following areas:
* Best Bath $60 - $100k
* Best Kitchen $30 - $60k
* Best Kitchen $ 60 - $100k
* Best Deck/Porch/Patio
* Best Entire House Under $250K