Home Improvement's Popular Posts

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Vintage Bedroom Makeover

A Vintage Bedroom Makeover
by Nikki Pepper

A lot of makeovers make an old room look brand new. This one takes the opposite approach, and we love the vintage-inspired result.

There's nothing wrong with this master bedroom. Sweet, pin-tucked bedding, basic furniture and a hint of the vintage look that the homeowner, Jennifer Vaughn of Memento-Designs, was after. But it was when she teamed up with designer Emily Hewitt of A Well Dressed Home that the room transformed into an elegant, put-together space.


The biggest change in this room was actually the least expensive -- the loosely decoupaged wall. Pages from old books lend the space history, texture and a lovely neutral palette. Playing off of the light colors, the mint and peach bedding and ruffled pillows are old-fashioned without being dowdy. And the lamps and mirrors flanking the bed make the space look much more thought-out than before. No more mirror on the floor!


Recognize that shelf from the "before?" Love that it now fits into the space and is accented by accessories that match the old world vibe.

Monday, May 30, 2011

HOME IMPROVEMENT AMERICA OBSERVES MEMORIAL DAY


Today, we observe and pay tribute to those that have fallen and those still standing in bravery for our country. 

We Thank, Love, and Honor You. 

God Bless All.

-Home Improvement America

Friday, May 27, 2011

What to spend on a kitchen remodel


What to spend on a kitchen remodel
If you're thinking about a home remodeling job, the kitchen may be one of the best places to start.

According to Angie Hicks, of consumer group Angie's List, "The kitchen is the center part of your home. You spend a lot of time as a family gathering in the kitchen so it's a great place for consumers to invest dollars to make that space better fit their needs and still get a good return on your investment. The average kitchen remodel, if you plan on living in your house for a few years, gets you about an 85 percent return on your investment. And when you think about a remodel job, you can do a job for even a few thousand dollars by freshening up some paint, even door handles on the cabinets, all the way up to several thousand dollars if you are thinking about a full remodel."

Tips from Angie's List:

· You can remodel your kitchen for around $5000 but costs can climb much higher depending on size and whether you're gutting the old and replacing everything or doing something smaller.
· To maximize your return, don't spend more than 20 percent of the value of your home on your kitchen remodel. So if your home is worth $200,000, the most you likely want to spend on a kitchen remodel is $40,000.
· Don't go overboard for your neighborhood or your budget. If you can't afford double

Popular kitchen remodeling trends according to Angie's List:
· The biggest trend right now isn't a product: it's getting more value for less money. Consumers are investing in their homes, but they're more willing to negotiate now and shop for bargains. 


· One of the ways to do this is to buy less expensive cabinets - or have your existing cabinets refaced - and instead focus on the trim and hardware, like door handles, because that's where the eyes are going to go anyway. A fresh coat of paint is also another less expensive way to spruce up a kitchen.

· Energy efficient appliances will start paying you back immediately, and you're going to be using these devices every day. So invest well in these items. 

· Brushed nickel and stainless are popular, and quartz countertops are as popular these days as granite.

Angie's List tips for hiring a remodeling contractor for your kitchen: 


· Kitchen remodels are among the most complicated projects out there because one part of the job depends on other parts of the job being done first and you could have a handful of different tradespeople responsible for each job. Chances are, your contractor has other jobs going and he'll be trying to get the most out of his crew so you want to streamline your project so you can get the specialists you need when you need them. 

· Unless you can devote most of your time to the project, you may want to hire a general contractor to coordinate the electrician, the plumber and the others who will work on cabinets and countertops, tiling, flooring, appliances, lighting and painting. 

· Do your homework to learn what your local licensing requirements are and don't settle for anyone who doesn't carry a valid license. They need to be insured and bonded, as well. If they aren't happy to show you proof of these things, find another contractor. 

· If you are doing a total kitchen remodel, ask the contractor if/where they will set up a temporary kitchen for you and your family to use while the project is underway. Eating out for every meal gets old and expensive fast. And so does doing your dishes in the bathtub. 

· Few homeowners are really prepared for the stress a weeks-long project has on their daily life. So after you've decided on a licensed, insured and bonded contractor, talk to him or her about these things. Set ground rules for when the crew can arrive, where materials will and things like that.

If you're thinking about a home remodeling job, the kitchen may be one of the best places to start.

According to Angie Hicks, of consumer group Angie's List, "The kitchen is the center part of your home. You spend a lot of time as a family gathering in the kitchen so it's a great place for consumers to invest dollars to make that space better fit their needs and still get a good return on your investment. The average kitchen remodel, if you plan on living in your house for a few years, gets you about an 85 percent return on your investment. And when you think about a remodel job, you can do a job for even a few thousand dollars by freshening up some paint, even door handles on the cabinets, all the way up to several thousand dollars if you are thinking about a full remodel."

Tips from Angie's List:
· You can remodel your kitchen for around $5000 but costs can climb much higher depending on size and whether you're gutting the old and replacing everything or doing something smaller. 

· To maximize your return, don't spend more than 20 percent of the value of your home on your kitchen remodel. So if your home is worth $200,000, the most you likely want to spend on a kitchen remodel is $40,000. 

· Don't go overboard for your neighborhood or your budget. If you can't afford double

Popular kitchen remodeling trends according to Angie's List:
· The biggest trend right now isn't a product: it's getting more value for less money. Consumers are investing in their homes, but they're more willing to negotiate now and shop for bargains. 

· One of the ways to do this is to buy less expensive cabinets - or have your existing cabinets refaced - and instead focus on the trim and hardware, like door handles, because that's where the eyes are going to go anyway. A fresh coat of paint is also another less expensive way to spruce up a kitchen.

· Energy efficient appliances will start paying you back immediately, and you're going to be using these devices every day. So invest well in these items.
· Brushed nickel and stainless are popular, and quartz countertops are as popular these days as granite.

Angie's List tips for hiring a remodeling contractor for your kitchen:
· Kitchen remodels are among the most complicated projects out there because one part of the job depends on other parts of the job being done first and you could have a handful of different tradespeople responsible for each job. Chances are, your contractor has other jobs going and he'll be trying to get the most out of his crew so you want to streamline your project so you can get the specialists you need when you need them. 

· Unless you can devote most of your time to the project, you may want to hire a general contractor to coordinate the electrician, the plumber and the others who will work on cabinets and countertops, tiling, flooring, appliances, lighting and painting. 

· Do your homework to learn what your local licensing requirements are and don't settle for anyone who doesn't carry a valid license. They need to be insured and bonded, as well. If they aren't happy to show you proof of these things, find another contractor. 

· If you are doing a total kitchen remodel, ask the contractor if/where they will set up a temporary kitchen for you and your family to use while the project is underway. Eating out for every meal gets old and expensive fast. And so does doing your dishes in the bathtub. 

· Few homeowners are really prepared for the stress a weeks-long project has on their daily life. So after you've decided on a licensed, insured and bonded contractor, talk to him or her about these things. Set ground rules for when the crew can arrive, where materials will and things like that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lowe's to rebuild Sanford store


Lowe's to rebuild Sanford store

BY MARTHA QUILLIN
SANFORD -- No telling how many trips Kenneth Hall and his crew would have made to Lowe's Home Improvement over the past 2-1/2 weeks to get materials for the house they're repairing in Sanford that was damaged by the April 16 tornado. If only the tornado hadn't taken out the Lowe's store, too.
"I'll be glad when the Lowe's comes back," Hall said Wednesday, taking a break from cutting new trim for the home's interior.
The Lowe's is coming back. Company officials and local politicians held a groundbreaking Wednesday to celebrate the rebuilding of the store.
Plunging eight brand-new shovels into a pile of loose dirt was entirely ceremonial. The home improvement store was torn down immediately after it was totaled by the tornado, and the site has been a busy pre-construction zone ever since.
The original concrete slab for the store had to be ripped up and replaced. Block for the walls was arriving by the truckload Wednesday morning. At this pace, officials said, the store will open by late fall.
"This is good for the spirit of Sanford," said Mayor Cornelia Olive, who also visited the site in the hours just after the tornado, when the store's front wall was collapsed, much of the roof ripped off and the parking lot full of overturned and battered cars and trucks.
Two people died in Lee County as a result of the tornado, but, thanks to quick action by store employees such as Bobby Gibson and manager Mike Hollowell, no one in the store was seriously hurt. Gibson, Hollowell and others corralled workers and shoppers - nearly 100 people in all - to the back of the building in the seconds before the twister hit the front.
Since the tornado, all 150-plus store employees have taken temporary jobs in other area Lowe's stores.
Gibson is working at the store in Apex now, he said, but is looking forward to getting back to the one in Sanford. The store's loss also is acutely felt by homeowners trying to repair storm damage or just beginning spring spruce-ups. Though there are building supply stores in town, the next big-box home improvement stores are 30 minutes away.
Although not a local gathering place, the store was the scene of many impromptu meetings, as people came in on Saturdays or Sundays to pick up materials for a plumbing repair or to peruse the petunia selection.
After the tornado, people throughout Sanford talked about how lucky they were not to have been in the store when it hit, having been there earlier in the day or expecting to go there later that afternoon.
"This is a piece of the community gone, not just a store," Gibson said. "The quicker they get this going, the quicker the healing process for the whole community."
The rebuilding is bringing welcome jobs as Lowe's hires local contractors to do some of the work.
The new store will have 103,000 square feet of indoor retail space with an adjacent 34,000-square-foot garden center. Company officials said the store will cost more than $10 million.
Elsewhere in Sanford, recovery is hit-and-miss. In the neighborhood where Hall was working Wednesday, for every house under renovation, there was one with the windows boarded up and the grass growing wild. A few miles away, the St. Andrews subdivision is a sea of blue tarps as homeowners await roof repairs.
Tractor Supply and Big Lots, in a shopping center across the street from Lowe's that also was badly damaged by the twister, show no signs of rebuilding yet.
But Olive, the mayor, said the storm had done some good, spurring people to volunteer. Last weekend, she said, 200 people turned out to help clean up a neighborhood near downtown and do minor repairs to nearly two dozen houses there. And the tornado didn't even go through that area.
"This has re-energized the community," she said.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5 Unique Ways to Finance Your Home Improvement Project


5 Unique Ways to Finance Your Home Improvement Project

By Renaud Laplanche

I will never forget the summer when my wife and I decided to redo the kitchen: Between the dust, the delays and the dirty dishes in the bathroom sink (not to mention she was pregnant) there was plenty of stress.

When undertaking a major home renovation, your first priority should be creating and adhering to a budget that is honest and realistic. If you want a stainless steel, humidity-controlled fridge with panorama French style doors, plan for it. You can find average project costs online to give you some sense of what to expect. For example, Remodeling Magazine estimates the average cost of remodeling a mid-range kitchen to be more than $58,000.

No matter your budget size, give some thought to what would happen if you went 20% over. A 2009 Consumer Reports survey found that 56% of kitchen remodels went over budget. In our household we really bent the curve-- spending about 30% more than we originally planned due to our preferences in higher-quality finishes and materials. Be prepared to make the tough choices ordig a little deeper into your pockets.

Having a plan in place early and identifying exactly how much you can spend will put you in a much better position to come through your home-improvement project unscathed. If you don’t have the cash on hand, here are a few alternatives for financing your renovation project:

1. Home equity line of credit (HELOC): A low-interest, variable rate HELOC is likely the best financing choice if you have equity in your home. A HELOC uses your home as collateral for the loan and allows you to borrow a certain percentage of your home equity. You will be able to borrow up to your credit limit for the full term period and interest rates, which are tied to prime rate, are generally much lower than alternatives. Unfortunately, plummeting home values means only those who put in significant down payments or have lived in their homes for a long time are likely able to qualify. It’s also important to note that obtaining a HELOC can take one to two months and may require you to pay for a home inspection.

2. Contractor loans: Large contracting services often offer their own financing options. This may be a good route to take, but do some research to make sure the contractor’s rates are competitive and that he or she is not getting kickbacks from the lending agency.
3. Government solar energy incentive programs: If you are looking to make your home more eco-friendly, the government may be willing to give you a tax credit to lighten the financial burden. Uncle Sam offers $1,500 in tax credits for upgrading to Energy Star appliances, and additional credits for solar-energy systems like solar panels or solar water heaters. State or local programs may offer additional rebates: In Minnesota for example, homeowners who make qualifying energy-efficient home improvements can save an additional 35% on costs in addition to federal tax credits.
4. Personal loans: If you were considering financing your project with a credit card, consider a personal loan instead. Compared to credit cards, personal loans often have lower, fixed (not variable) interest rates that enable you to properly budget your repayment and still leave available credit on your cards for day-to-day conveniences. Not all banks offer personal loans, but there are options online that provide credit-worthy borrowers a fast, easy and automated way to borrow money at rates that can be 20-30% below traditional banks.
5. Title 1 home improvement loans: The government provides private lenders with insurance to provide loans for up to $25,000 for home improvements for terms as long as 20 years. Borrowers do not need to have equity in their homes to be eligible for these loans, and they can use the funds for any home improvements except for luxury items like hot tubs. Interest rates are generally between 10 and 14%—often half of what private lenders charge. A property owner can apply at any lender (bank, mortgage company, savings and loan association, credit union) that is approved to make Title I loan.
My wife, son and I thoroughly enjoy our new kitchen, good luck on your project and on sticking to that budget!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Vanilla Ice is Giving One Lucky Homeowner a "Rock Star" Room Renovation

Vanilla Ice is Giving One Lucky Homeowner a "Rock Star" Room Renovation with DIY Network's "Ice My House" Contest
DIY Network, the go-to-destination for home improvement television, and Vanilla Ice, 90s pop icon, home remodeler and host of The Vanilla Ice Project, are giving one lucky viewer a rock star room renovation. From May 16 to June 27, homeowners can upload videos and photos to DIYNetwork.comtelling Vanilla Ice why he should renovate a room in their house. The winner of the "Ice My House" contest will receive a $30,000 room makeover courtesy of Vanilla Ice and his crew. In addition, the transformation will be documented in a one-hour special called, "VIP: Ice My House," which will kick-off the second season of DIY Network's The Vanilla Ice Project, in early 2012.

"If there is a problem, yo, I'll solve it," said Vanilla Ice when asked about DIY Network's "Ice My House" contest. "I'm looking forward to visiting a viewer in their hometown and giving them an off-the-hook renovation. I'll take their space from zero-to-hero and have a little fun in the process."

Currently in production, rock star turned home improvement all-star Vanilla Ice and his crew are back for another season of 13 half-hour episodes of jaw-dropping renovations as they tackle a new, busted up Palm Beach area mansion. This time, Vanilla Ice's imagination runs wild as he chases down the hottest home improvement trends and technology. But first, he's going to move walls, tear out shoddy work, and build this house up from the studs. Wes, Handsome Dan, Rodney and Joey - his team of contractors - have his back every step of the way.

After his chart topping hit "Ice Ice Baby," Vanilla Ice turned his focus to a new hobby - buying land and flipping houses. He's renovated old homes and foreclosures, and taught himself the basics through hands-on experience and a lot of research. The first season of DIY Network's The Vanilla Ice Projectpremiered to critical-acclaim in October 2010.

To enter DIY Network's "Ice My House" contest and for restrictions, official rules and details, visitDIYNetwork.com/VanillaIce. To watch a video clip of Vanilla Ice announcing the contest, visit DIY Network's YouTube page.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

$3 million remodeling planned for Christie

$3 million remodeling planned for Christie
By Debra Pressey

CHAMPAIGN — Christie Clinic is undertaking a $3 million remodeling project at the main clinic in downtown Champaign.

The downtown building at the corner of Neil Street and University Avenue houses most of Christie Clinic's specialists and major diagnostic equipment, and some of those specialty departments have grown too crowded, Christie's CEO Alan Gleghorn said.

The clinic has been steadily adding patients, and many of them are winding up at the downtown clinic for specialty care and diagnostics, Gleghorn said.

The number of patient visits has also grown steadily throughout the clinic, from 569,615 in 2006 to 673,268 last year, according to Christie's Chief Financial Officer Kenny Bilger.

The remodeling will create space for 10 additional physicians, some of whom are already on board, Gleghorn said.

The number of doctors in the pulmonology department, for example, has been doubled from two to four to keep up with the need for care among people with lung diseases Gleghorn said.

"We just continue to grow that business. More pulmonary diseases in the area, unfortunately," he said.

Plans call for a new pulmonary function lab to be added and for the pulmonary department to move to the lower level that used to house physical therapy and orthopedics departments, which moved off-site after flooding in the downtown area.

Now that the flooding problem has been fixed, Gleghorn said, that lower level space is being gutted and remodeled. It will have a new upgraded waiting room along with new heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing systems.

Upstairs, the dermatology department, set to add another new physician, will be expanded into the old pulmonary department space.

Cardiology, another growing department, will also move to the lower level to the lower level of the building, and the chemical infusion department will also be expanded and remodeled to create a better environment for patients, Gleghorn said.

"It's way too crowded," he added.

One of the biggest changes that might be noticed by all patients will be a replacement of all four older elevators, Bilger said.

All the construction work is expected to be completed by this fall, and patients are expected to notice minimal disruption since all the work is being confined to specific areas, clinic officials said.Patients can check Christie Clinic's website for updates on the project athttp://www.christieclinic.com.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Treasures Found While Renovating


Found While Renovating: Skeletons in the Closet and More

renovating

Skeletons in the closet? We've all got them. Though some literally have skeletons in their closets...or chests. After moving into an 1887 Queen Anne, this contributor on the This Old House forum went to look through the property's barn. Inside she found a collection of furniture, boxes and trunks. Tucked into one of those trunks was a skeleton. Though the story is shocking, it's not an episode of CSI: The Olden Days. Turns out the skeleton was a medical model used by a previous owner, who was a Civil War surgeon.

renovating

Bottles are a common find, but what about a stash of Prohibition-era (and beyond) empties? This was spotted by a guest at an old bed and breakfast that was undergoing renovations.
renovating
An example of the Thompson machine gun.

If empty bottles from a possible speakeasy are too tame for you, how about a gun from the same era? Whilerenovating, a Chicago-area resident found the 1928 Thompson sub-machine gun, worth $10,000. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't cash in on his odd treasure. After reporting it to the police, they confiscated the gun.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Want your remodeling job done right? Hire a professional


Want your remodeling job done right? Hire A professional
Written by
MITCHELL ZBIK, DWIGHT PITTENGER, JASON BOSSART and DAN GEHRIG

May is National Home Remodeling Month.

Any homeowner planning to remodel wants nothing less than a professional job. We all want the best quality in terms of workmanship and materials when it comes to improving our most prized and valuable asset.

When it comes to selecting a remodeler, however, too many buyers conveniently forget the time-proven adage that you get what you pay for.

The dilemma that confronts many homeowners is their desire for a top-notch job at the lowest possible price.

With price as their primary focus, they ignore other criteria that may carry more weight in producing a successfully completed project and a smooth working relationship with the remodeler.

It's understandable that price is a major consideration when it comes to remodeling.

The cost of remodeling has increased as the demand for remodeling grows.

Higher costs of materials and scarcity of skilled labor are just two factors contributing to price hikes.

Remodeling magazine reported in a cost-vs.-value survey that a mid-priced major kitchen remodel, the most popular remodeling project, typically costs $58,400. A minor remodel of the same 200-square-foot kitchen costs about $21,700.

Homeowners need to understand that remodeling is a service and not merely a product.

This service encompasses the intangibles that make up the process of remodeling -- how everything comes together and results in a satisfying experience and an acceptable finished product. The materials and products that go into it can't define a professional job alone.

The nature of remodeling as a service becomes even more pronounced when you consider that inevitably you'll be sharing your home with the remodelers' crews for days or even months, depending on the scale of the project.

All remodeling involves some degree of inconvenience, but that can easily turn into a nightmare if your remodeler doesn't put your family's comfort and concerns first.

Rather than selecting a remodeler based on where one bid falls compared to others, shift your focus to finding a professional remodeler; then go about getting a bid on your job.

If the bid is higher than what you budgeted, work with the remodeler to decide where you can cut back or what you can postpone.

Ask for suggestions. For example, you can always have the remodeler frame in a fireplace to be installed later, but he can't upgrade the customer service if there wasn't any to begin with.

Some important characteristics you should be looking for to ensure that you hire a professional remodeler are:

• Experience: Ask how long the remodeler has been in business. Longevity suggests financial stability, which is necessary for the remodeler to finish the job and still be available if problems crop up after the job is completed. Also, the more jobs the company has completed, the more expertise the remodeler will bring to your project and the hidden surprises that remodeling typically entails.

• Reputation: Look to the remodelers' former and current customers to gauge the company's reputation. Obtain the names and phone numbers of customers you can call to ask their impressions of the company's work and customer service. Ask for a personal visit to see the work they had done and ask whether they would hire the company again. Go visit one of the company's jobs in progress to evaluate how they manage the construction process and how tidy they keep the job site.

• Business credentials: A good place to start your search for a remodeler is with your local home builders association and its Remodelers Council. These groups work to keep their members informed about educational development, new products, construction techniques, business practices and industry issues.

In New Jersey, they promote the Home Improvement Contractors Registration law, which is part of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and other required certifications, such as the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Safe Practices law as part of the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.

Many trade groups also confer professional credentials, such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), to those who meet their requirements. All these demonstrate a remodeler's commitment to professionalism.

• License and insurance: Ask to see a copy of the remodeler's license. As required by state law, the remodeler's HIC license number should be on all business contracts and marketing materials. It is also important to verify that the remodeler carries workers' compensation and liability insurance. Have the company show you copies of both insurance certificates to protect yourself from liability in situations involving job site injuries or property damage resulting from the work being done on your home.

If your goal is a professional remodeling project, then your best bet is to hire a professional remodeler. The cost will pay for itself in the satisfaction you receive while the project is in progress and during the many years you will enjoy the completed project.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Remodeling of historic Willows courthouse draws nearer

Remodeling of historic Willows courthouse draws nearer
By GREG WELTER

WILLOWS — Glenn County supervisors took another step Tuesday in the lengthy process of remodeling and expanding the historic Glenn County Courthouse in Willows.


County Counsel Huston Carlyle said the county has received a revised equity rights agreement from the state, prompting supervisors to approve the execution of deeds and other documents needed to transfer title for the 115-year-old building to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The AOC is expected to authorize funding of $443,000 to cover a temporary move of the courts to an alternate facility during the remodeling, Carlyle said.

"Once that money is received, the courts will have 60 days to vacate that building," he said.

The courthouse building is slated to get a major facelift which will include a second judge's chambers, a mediation area, an inmate holding facility and a second courtroom in space previously occupied by the Glenn County Board of Supervisors, which moved across the street to the Veteran's Memorial Building in 2009.

All renovations will conform to state historic building standards, and an addition to the building completed in the 1940s, which doesn't conform, will be removed, officials said.

The $46.2 million project is scheduled for completion by 2015.

Officials estimate the construction may generate close to 1,000 local jobs.

Current plans call for the courthouse building in Orland to be converted to another use by the county.




Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Woman scammed in home project


Woman scammed in home project

Police offer tips to prevent being a victim

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A Lafayette man is facing a felony charge for allegedly scamming an elderly woman out of thousands of dollars for a home improvement project.
31-year-old Michael Phillips, of Lafayette, has been charged with Home Improvement Fraud, a Class C felony. 

According to court documents, 82-year-old Onita Thomas told police she paid Phillips $11,500 for a room addition that has yet to be completed.
The construction permit still sits in the window at Phillip's home at 56 Chestnut Street in Lafayette, dated November 30, 2009. Towards the back of the home, the unfinished construction project is still visible.
According to court documents,  Thomas called Lafayette Police in August 2010 to report her contractor's phone number had been disconnected, and she hadn't seen Michael Phillips or his associate, Billy Best, in two months.
Lafayette Police Detective Mike Humphrey said the elderly may be easy victims for home improvement scams.
"People that are not legitimate are going to pick out certain victims," he said. "People that need the work done right away, people that they think will not do their homework."
Thomas wasn't available to talk with NewsChannel 18, but we did speak with her next-door neighbor. He said Phillips stayed around long enough to complete the foundation of the addition, breaking a sewer pipe in the process. He said Thomas met Phillips through a member of her family.
"A tip for elderly homeowners is if they have another family member that can be involved with the process, be involved in the decision making," Humphrey said
Court documents show Thomas did just that. Her daughter's fiance paid the initial $5,000 payment after the contract was signed. Thomas later paid a second installment of $6,500. Humphrey said Thomas did the right thing by not paying everything up front.
"The biggest thing is try to have as much written documentation as you can, with receipts, paperwork. Have a written contract," Humphrey said.
He also suggests making sure the contractor is insured and has a bond with your city or county.
Humphrey suggested the following tips, from the attorney general's web site:
  • Check references: Visit other projects completed by the contractor.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau and the attorney general's Consumer Protection Bureau for any complaints.
  • Get a contract in writing, that states a payment schedule, estimated start and completion dates.
  • Never pay for the entire project up front.
According to the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department, Michael Phillips has yet to be booked into the jail. Court records show, as of Thursday, there is a warrant out for his arrest.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homebuilder confidence falls in the West


Homebuilder confidence falls in the West
By JON LANSNER

One measure of homebuilder psyche — the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index — shows that developers in the West are less optimistic in the middle of prime selling season as a trade group official says rising gasoline prices are creeping into shopper pysche.


The NAHB/Wells index for the West in May was 16 – that is 2 below April and 3 points off vs. a year ago. NAHB/Wells index comes from a builder survey that tabulates "a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor."



Also …
Nationwide, The NAHB index stood at 16 again in May — a low level where it's sat for six out of the past seven months.
Other regions: Northeast, down 5 to 15; Midwest, flat at 14, the South up 1 to 16.
NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen: "Many builders in this month's survey cited high gas prices as a further contributor to consumer anxiety and reluctance to go forward with a home purchase."
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe: "90 percent of builders surveyed said clients are concerned about being able to sell their existing home at a favorable price, while 73 percent said consumers think it will be difficult for them to get financing. Clearly, access to credit for both builders and buyers remains a considerable obstacle to the revival of the new-homes market."