Winter Storm Preparation or Hurricane Preparedness

by Peggy Mackowski 13. December 2012 16:19


When preparing for a severe storm or hurricane, here is a list of items to consider putting together:

Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

Check boxFood - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils

Check boxBlankets / Pillows, etc.

Check boxClothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes

Check boxFirst Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs

Check boxSpecial Items - for babies and the elderly

Check boxToiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes

Check boxFlashlight / Batteries

Check boxRadio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio

Check boxTelephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set

Check boxCash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods

Check boxKeys

Check boxToys, Books and Games

Check boxImportant documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Check boxTools - keep a set with you during the storm

Check boxVehicle fuel tanks filled

Check boxPet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash



Remodeling Myth #4 - Financing

by John Sperath 30. November 2012 14:50

Finance first - design a project then hire a contractor

Financial pre-approval for a remodeling project is a common practice that often creates a compromised project.

A pre-approved budget creates a project that fits the dollar amount rather than a project that fits you, your needs, wants and desires.  Don’t let the banker plan your remodel.

It is wiser to plan the project first, learn its estimated price, determine your financing limits and then re-work the master plan to fit the actual budget.  A modified version of the ultimate project is superior to a generic project that satisfied your pre-approved budget but doesn’t satisfy your true construction goal.



Remodeling Myth #3 – Designers and Planning

by John Sperath 14. November 2012 16:34

 Hiring a design professional will be too expensive.

A common misconception about hiring a design professional is that it is too expensive and therefore leaves you with less to spend on your home improvement.  Hiring a design/build firm who also enlists structural engineers, kitchen cabinet design specialists and CAD technicians enables the remodeler to make your dreams a reality.  Design time is without a doubt costly.  However, with excellent communication, proper planning, energy and effort your project will be ultimately successful.  When pre-planning is thorough, your project stays on budget and on schedule.

First and foremost, having an experienced and knowledgeable design professional on your side reduces your stress and ensures your concept will be completed.

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Remodeling Myth #2 – The Design

by John Sperath 5. November 2012 14:24

Hire a professional designer before a contractor.

It's a good idea to hire your remodeler and design professional at the same time or consider working with a contractor who offers design/build services.  Having both fields working together from the beginning will avoid unnecessary headaches.  Remodelers know the construction field.  A good architect or designer has a portfolio of creative design ideas.  By working together, the designer and the remodeling firm facilitate coordinating the project design and budget.

As the client, you won't be as tempted to "just draw it in," only to find out later that you have dramatically increased the cost of your project.  Having your contractor by your side will help you stay realistic.

If you aren't sure where to begin, start with the person who is going to build your project and ask for his or her recommendations.  Consider a design/build remodeling firm, one that understands and provides both the design phase and the construction.  

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Remodeling Myth #1 - The Three-Bid Rule

by John Sperath 29. October 2012 14:23

Get three “bids” to make sure you are getting the best deal for your money.

If you needed heart surgery, would you ever consider asking three surgeons to submit bids and then go with the lowest price?  The answer is an emphatic, "Of course not!"

The three-bid rule appears to work because it assumes everything to be equal except the bid price.  The underlying premise is the three bidders all do the same quality work, have assessed and calculated the exact same scope of work, reviewed the same blueprints and specifications in exactly the same way so the owner can compare “apples-to-apples.”  This is especially untrue if the discussion is in the very early stages of design before plans and specifications are drawn.  The three-bid rule reduces each remodeler to a number, when the most relevant factors for the owner's satisfaction are the builder's skill, ability, experience, personality, and record of success.

Selecting a professional remodeling firm necessitates a change in how homeowners should select the best contractor.  Specifically, the old practice of collecting three bids and choosing the lowest to select a contractor is a potential for an unsuccessful and disappointing project result.

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The Best Time to Remodel

by Eddie Casanave 13. November 2011 18:22

If you've been paying attention to media coverage of the current housing downturn and overall economic recession, you may be questioning the value of remodeling your home right now. Will the cost of your dream remodeling project go down in the future?

You also might expect a professional remodeling company to argue just the opposite, that now is the best time, financially and otherwise, to improve your home. Of course, a remodeler's business depends on people making that investment, but there are some logical and compelling reasons to ignore the naysayers and consider remodeling now.

For example, you may have planned to sell your current home and find one that better suits your household and lifestyle needs ... until the recession drove housing values down and caused you to put those plans on hold.

It's likely the situation persists and your house doesn't satisfy your family's current needs. A well thought through remodeling project may be able to address those issues. No one can predict the bottom of the housing market, but improving your home can go a long way toward boosting its value in a recovering market and making it a more comfortable and better fit for your family in the meantime.

In addition, interest rates for financing home improvements are at historic lows. As the country's recent economic improvement and growth continue, it's fair to say that rates are likely to rise.

The investment prospect for remodeling now is even greater because improvements can update and upgrade systems, products, and finishes to contemporary standards of efficiency and comfort. When it comes time to sell, those homes will logically be more valuable than older ones that have not been remodeled.

While improving your home now buys you some time for an economic recovery, it also affords you the opportunity to get more of what you want in the design and finish of your home. You'll create something that is more valuable to your personal enjoyment and lifestyle needs. In any economy, that logic makes sense.

Something else to consider: Professional remodelers who have survived the current recession have honed their construction practices and costs. Their streamlined operations have lowered overhead expenses and raised their business acumen. This translates into a great value for your remodeling investment.

In addition, global demand from emerging markets (like China) is likely to continue. This will drive up the cost of raw materials, and as the cost of building materials goes up, so does the cost of any home improvement project.

Finally, many of our key construction trade partners have cut their costs and margins in an effort to stay afloat during this economic storm. As business picks up, so will their fees.

Making the decision to improve your home now benefits those who can look past the headlines and scare tactics and understand that, in these times, the best time to remodel may be about to slip away.

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About the author

The Remodelers Council of the HBA of Raleigh-Wake County is a group of professionals serving the remodeling sector of the construction industry. We are members of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County and the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council.

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