Yesterday, I spent some time helping a friend who was in a pickle. Four years ago he renovated his garage into living space. Fast forward to today, he's trying to sell his house, and the buyer's lender wanted to make sure that the renovation was done correctly. Thankfully, the days of swearing on your mother's grave that all work is safe and completed to code are almost exterminated, but my friend didn't get a permit for the renovation at the time. Thus, I found myself with my friend's Realtor at the building department trying to figure out how to get a permit, ex post facto.This brought up an interesting discussion with the inspector. I understand that most people see permits as another form of taxation or government intrusion. However, in this case, it actually is holding my the sale of my friend's home because the lender wants to make certain that the asset their lending for 1) won't fall in or burn down, and 2), can be sold with the renovation if the buyer defaults. Another hidden benefit of permitting is home insurance rates. In the not too distant past, the city of Indianapolis was struggling to get inspectors to key phases in residential construction. You know, things like making sure footings were correct; structure was properly specified and fastened properly; and there were no electrical or plumbing problems. If the contractor called for an inspection at any of these phases, the understanding was that they only had to wait 24 hours, and if an inspector did not appear, they could continue with their work. So, you guessed it, not all projects were built to code, and some of them failed, because, at the end of the project, the contractors only needed to mail a little postcard to the city basically swearing that they built the project to code. These poor inspection practices - and the results thereof - caught the attention of the insurance rating board and Indianapolis received a poor rating. This drove homeowners' insurance higher. Enter a new sheriff in town, who cleaned things up, categorized permitting much better, and, yes, raised some permit fees. Of course, raised fees didn't set well with some folk, but the fees went to hire a couple dozen more inspectors and installed an inspection review/dispatch system that keeps those inspectors efficient and completing almost 100% of the required inspections. Once again, the inspection practices caught the attention of the insurance rating board and Indianapolis received a high rating. Homeowner's insurance premiums went down. Wouldn't you rather have a higher one-time permit fee, and the benefit of lower annual premiums for the rest of your life? Oh! My friend? In order to get an inspection and thus a Certificate of Occupancy, he'll have to apply for a permit, remove a good amount of drywall, fix some issues with the gas-fired water heater which is now in a living space, request an inspection, patch it all up (assuming he's done all the work to code), paint it, and then, his buyer can get a loan.
A recent client in West Central, Indiana desired to build a home inexpensively and chose the option of building a post frame structure for their home, but the building supplier did not have the ability to show them how the interior of the structure could be finished. Thus they came to us.
So many of us are into HGTV's shows, and lately, I've been obsessed with Chip & Joanna Gaines on HGTV's Fixer Upper. Have you ever thought, "I wish I could get into a house and have the beauty that they show AND have instant equity"? Have you ever wondered why they buy a house, and then find the problems? Have you had those thoughts and then put them out of your mind because you know a TV crew isn't going to show up in your driveway and you figure remodeling won't turn out that easy? Seriously, you CAN experience this for yourself...just without the TV crew.
Last year, a homeowner agreed that the design/build process was best for their upcoming addition and remodeling project. Their contractor, Schrier Contracting, LLC, knew that their satisfaction would be increased if they were included intimately in the design process of their project. Their list was quite succinct:
- 2-car garage addition
- laundry room/storage
- home office
- kitchen remodel
- and, more light in living space
We all know the analogy of comparing apples and oranges, and throughout our lives, we strive to decipher the differences that we see between products, companies, services, and experiences so that we know best which one to choose. In the end, the goal is to compare apples to apples, or oranges to oranges. We do this in the produce isle all the time, right? If apples are 99 cents each, we compare one apple to another and choose the largest because it's the best price for the amount of apple we get to eat.
We want and need to compare services, but the question is how to do soWhen comparing services, it is hard to know when we have truly compared apples to apples. For instance, we tend to assume that two computers will operate the same when they have the same specs. But we now know that there are some brands that don't hold up in the long run, and too often, we choose the less expensive option and end up paying the price in the end either by frustration or purchase of a replacement, or both.
by Tim Schrock 0 comments
Every new project is exciting for us to begin as each is a new challenge to design an attractive building. But each project also brings the opportunity to work with a new set of tastes, needs, desires, and limits. This project did not disappoint. The description for this new construction home was re-iterated several times to us to have a large, open area family space. Other than that, the owners wanted 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, home office and full basement.
How can you increase the space without adding to the footprint? Oh the fun tricks of being a remodeling designer! Really, the trick isn't that tricky. You want to know the secret? Remove the inefficiencies of the traffic pattern. It's that simple. Ah, but that's also tricky. The other trick is...
You've heard the adage "plan your work, work your plan" right? Sometimes, one should just "go with their gut" and do something, but I don't think that should apply to remodeling or building in most cases; especially if you are doing structural alterations. I've heard of, and seen, too many projects where the plan was "Fire, Aim, Ready" and the project languished, and everyone was suffering because of it. Lately, we've had the opportunity to give a "master plan" type of service to several remodeling clients, and I wanted to share some of these ideas with you today. Two of the projects are residential, and one is a commercial project to build townhouses.