WHAT OTHERS DO FOR PROFIT WE DO IT FOR FUN, JUST BECAUSE WE CAN .

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281 236 4199

General C&R Design/Build Firm Est.1983
6914 Belle Glen Dr.
Houston, Texas 77072

       

Custom Homes - Function for Good Living
Design + BluePrints + Permits
Remodeling + Restoration
Room Additions
Kitchen + Bathrooms
Custom Cabinets + Decorative Millwork
Custom Windows + Doors
Licensed Electrical-Plumbing-AC/Heating

  Honest Pricing
Satisfaction Guaranteed
One Job at the Time
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Protection to Property
Flexible Time Plans
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propertySites: For Sale By Owner Real Estate
 
KNOW BEFORE YOU BUILD
SEE IT BEFORE YOU BUILD
GALLERY
                                                                   
                                                                   
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING A PROJECT
 
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1. Before you start spending money.

2. Scheduling Yourself

3. Deed Restrictions & Regulations

4. City Building Codes & Permits

5. Contractors & Contracts

6. Cost Effectiveness & Savings

 

 

1. Before you start spending money.

Talk to people who have remodeled and learn from their experience. What you see on television home improvement shows does not really reflect the real world. They are about the same as the cooking shows. No one chops the onions or other ingredients for you. There are no little dishes filled with just enough sugar or flower so that you can just whip it all up between the commercials and have five meals ready in less than 20 minutes.

It takes preparation and more than seven dwarfs to get thing going. Even then, you might run into unexpected problems that were not visible from the outside. They do cost so be prepared to spend at least 15% more than planned.

Stay away from low bids and shortcuts. There is a simple rule in life: “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”. Just do it right or walk away from it. There is so many ways that a contractor can cut down on his labor in order to make up for a low bid that you would not even know it, until it’s too late.

Do not try to finish or rush your project because you have some imaginary completion date. If you plan, you will have plenty of time to get the job done right. Otherwise, you will be stuck and unsatisfied with the finished product.

If you have several remodeling projects on a single residence, sometimes it is more cost effective to combine them into a single project. The contractor can offer you a better deal if he is already on the job and you have to deal with the construction mess only once. You might think about postponing the project until your financial status allows you to group them together.

2. Scheduling Yourself

Any remodeling project, being interior or exterior, will interfere with your daily chores. There are certain things that you can do in order to make the process run a little bit smoother.

Exterior projects might limit your parking space or an access to your house. If possible, provide alternatives and talk to your neighbors about using some of their space. If you have animals, it is extremely important to provide them with a safe alternative place without having to cage or enclose them into area they are not familiar. Easy access and available space on the job site will help the contractor do his work, save time, and not worry about things that are not job related.

Interior projects such as kitchen or bathroom restorations can be extremely stressful on the homeowner. With bathroom renovations, make sure that you always have one of the spare bathrooms available for use. With kitchen renovations, make sure that you have available space in a separate room for the microwave and a fridge and use disposable plates, utensils, etc. If you plan to replace the cabinets, ask the contractor if it is possible to postpone the removal the old cabinets until the new ones arrive. This will buy you some extra time to pack all of your stuff. Again, try to keep the access to the working area free of boxes and other obstacles that might slow down the work process. Painting and other wall applications / repairs are ideal when there is no furniture around. Finding space for it can be difficult but you can at least get rid of the "small stuff" so that the larger pieces can be maneuvered. Make sure that furniture, floor, and other rooms are protected and covered from dust, paint, etc. A homeowner can usually do a better job here than anyone else and doing it yourself will save you money and possible aggravation.


3. Deed Restrictions & Regulations

Before you start any work and while you are still playing with the ideas first check your deed restrictions and/or contact the person that is charge of architectural supervision of deed restrictions in your Neighborhood Association. They can provide you with information of what you can and cannot do to your dwelling. You will need to submit your proposal to them and if you are planning an addition that is not common to your neighbors' residences, you need to make it presentable and your design has to be professional. Room additions have be design so they appear as the original part of the house and so do the rest of the structures that you planning to add. Poorly planned and executed construction projects such as additions can only decrease your house value.


4. City Building Codes & Permits

City Building Inspection service is there for your own protection. The police, fire, and ambulance services do not even come close to these people for care that they provide. Their main job is to make sure that your project is done properly so do not mess or lie to them. They will provide proper information if something is wrong with your project and will give you plenty of time to fix it. In addition, do not avoid a permit; the cost of it barely pays for inspector’s time.


5. Contractors & Contracts

There are only three versions of contractors:

1. Profit oriented business that care more about their earnings then the services they provide.

2. Individuals who work out of the back of their truck and who promise you everything without having the experience of a professional builder.

3. Professional builder that cares more about the finished product then just a sale. Sometimes it is an established company or just a person working out of his garage so it is important to ask questions about your project. Instant assurances from a contractor usually mean just the opposite. An elderly Italian gentleman that had a real estate & insurance company in NYC once told me that people who complain about something that they are trying to get, really want it. The ones that praise your product will never call you again. Moreover, the same goes the other way around. It is difficult to find someone that will go out on the limb for you but there are people out there. Hear what they have to say, check the references & previous jobs, how well they respond to your phone calls, examine their excuses and so on…It is not so difficult to spot an honest soul. The question becomes are you willing to deal with it or are you just looking for a cheap deal.

All agreements and contracts should be in writing. Certain elements of construction will require to be presented as drawings. It is important to include detail list of what needs to be completed, what does not, and all of the possible unexpected situations.

 

6. Cost Effectiveness & Savings

The major cost effect is YOU!

If you are remodeling a house that you plan to stay in for a long time, you will have plenty of time to enjoy your finished project. If you are planning to move in a few years, however, you need to be aware of the current value of your home and the general value of homes in your neighborhood. Otherwise, you may be spending money on your home with no hope of ever getting it back.

First, your house, the place you spend your private time is the only luxury you should be concerned. Cars, bikes, boats, and the rest of the “bling” are just that, usable toys that lose value over a period. The most effective way to cut down construction cost is to do it yourself. If you are willing to learn and are able to work then “JUST DO IT”! This little slogan is probably costing Nike Corporation a lot more than your project; and it is still kicking ass for them. You do not need to be swinging a hammer or hanging drywall but it is a better exercise then holding down the couch.

Know what you want and do some sketching / drawings of the ideas you might have and compare them with others. There is a great free sketching program called SketchUp by Goggle at http://sketchup.google.com/ that can help you visualize your ideas. Make yourself familiar with materials and structures that are “behind the walls”, the stuff you do not see, and you will have a better understanding of basic construction. Most of the bookstores have single books that will explain everything from concrete slabs to finished carpentry for around 20 to 30 dollars. Shopping around for materials can be more cost effective then just going to your local hardware store so call around. Internet auctions are a great place to save. You will be surprised to see that certain items can be purchased for about half the price then what they go for at the stores.

Even if you time is limited, try to dedicate an hour or so daily on the things that you can do and make sure you do it right. You do not want to mess things up so that the contractor has to fix it, so schedule yourself with the contractor and your donations will speed up the project and save you money at the same time.

             
 
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