Renovations Make a Comeback

When times improve, renovations break out all over. Hey, you know a good contractor?

Comments: 18

  1. When picking a contractor, don't just go with their references. Look up the building permits pulled in their name and call the people listed as their owners. I wish I had with my last contractor

  2. I've noticed this trend too. A lot of uglification of perfectly nice houses happening. People are going way over the top in overbuilding out basements, attics, landscaping, hardscaping, any space at all. Already way too much stainless, granite, and ceramic floor tiles in the world right now and it's getting worse. Be careful when you renovate. Don't do too much.

  3. I am taking a similar approach. I've owned a second home in the Catskills for a number of years. Was able to relocate to the home as my primary residence with my job. Am investing in a new kitchen and bathroom; I figure the same as the quote in the article, "you can't take it with you so you might as well enjoy it"!

  4. “I think a lot of it has to do with people having a longer-term perspective in their home now,” said Doug Milles, a member of the condo board of the 300-unit Columbia. He added, “I’ve always felt personally that it’s a good time to invest in your property during down times, because when things get better, you’re going to have a lot more attractive property.”______________________________________

    Where's the contradiction in Mr. Milles statement?

  5. If you can renovate to make yourself happy in your space, do it. Seems a better use of money to make your home enjoyable for YOU rather than for some future buyer. Also, most of the people, aside from the guy trying to sell his apartment, seem to be renovating for their own use and enjoyment, rather than to impress the neighbors.

  6. Sweet Jesus ! More money down a rat hole. Does anybody in this country save anything ? Are we going to keep borrowing money from "developing" (third world) countries forever ?

  7. Wow--good for you guys! Just be extremely diligent in protecting yourself, and let me know how that's done.

    In CA I learned the hard way that the State Contractor's Board will not protect you--after 3 years of increasing damage caused by a faulty installation I filed a complaint. I found out that the contractor's license was already suspended, he had ignored judgments against him, he had no insurance, and he was paying his people under the table so they could get unemployment benefits. A lady at the State Board gave my contractor a call, and he pulled a sob story about possibly filing bankruptcy, and she called me back and said, sorry, you're screwed.


    They could not help me, she said, because his license was already suspended, so they couldn't threaten him with that. I would need to get a lawyer and let him or her fight for me, and then share the results with the Board so they could have it on file in case this guy ever tried to get his license reinstated. (I said, I don't have the money for repairing the damage, how can I hire a lawyer? She said, it's a choice you have to make.) In regard to this man's sending out his workers without insurance, she laughed and said, You think you have trouble now, just think if one of them had gotten injured on your property, they would sue you and it would be YOUR fault. What about the collecting unemployment benefits while working for this jerk? She responded, The EDD would be interested in that--give them a call.

    So don't expect any assistance from the agencies who should protect you, at least in California.

  8. Sometimes it's worth it to have a neighbor (that happens to be a heating and plumbing contractor) help with connecting the gas and water lines. Our neighbor is not as busy as he used to be and is at home remodeling his own home a few days a week. So, he didn't mind helping out.

    The advantage is the cost savings, since I did some of the work myself. The best part is that we got exactly what we wanted. Electrical and plumbing lines had to be re-routed to put a kitchen into our "bonus room." A stinky cast-iron gas stove (stripped and converted to an electric fireplace) was moved into the "bonus room." The neighbor helped install a new gas stove in our living room. He drew the line at going up on our steel roof to insert the chimney. I did it and later went back up twice to paint it.

    We paid him for the earlier plumbing work but when we he refused payment for helping install the new stove (just helping a neighbor, he said) we got him $200 worth of gift certificates from P F Changs and avoided arguing over the bill he submitted, which was $7.49 cents for a gas-line elbow.

  9. Thank goodness for trades peoples' families and neighborhoods that there still is a little money around after this latest massive destruction of American wealth. Was certain we were near seeing these urban environs in flames again as in the '70s where it was slash, burn and run for the insurance claims. With a little luck we rise again with no ash to dust off.

  10. I watch a lot of HGTV and what I have noticed is that a lot of remodeled kitchens are beginning to look alike: the ubiquitous granite counter tops, rose wood cabinets and tile flooring. It is all getting to be a bit predictable. And when people try to be unique it turns into a real disaster. May I suggest man-made counter tops, not laminate necessarily but maybe recycled glass. What's going to happen when granite follows the pathway of the tuna and it is all gone. There are lots of choices for floors and cabinets that don't begin to look cookie cutter style. Use some imagination.

  11. This article is written, and the quotes included, seem to indicate that homes are a financial vehicle, an investment, non-liqued money, and not a home, a domicile, a place of memories.

  12. Women have bee trying to take their rightful place in the construction trades for over thirty years, with scant success. Only about 2% of construction trade jobs are held by women. So your'e retro assumption that only men do this kind of work is insulting and hurts the cause of the women who struggle with sexist and discriminatory attitudes every day.

    How about describing workers with tool belts,floor coverers, masons and tile-setters.? Is it that hard to be gender neutral?

  13. We renovated and we're staying put. Instead of trading up, we fixed up. This will be my home for the next two decades, easily.

  14. I liked the refinished floor. Is it real wood?
    How large was the apt? How long to install (from contract to completion)? Can you recommend the contractor?

  15. Kitchens are ruled by fashion, and the killword in fashion is "boring." Witness the avocado stoves from the 70's or the all white kitchens of the 90's. They were exciting until they became...too familiar.
    It has always seemed wasteful to me to furnish a home kitchen in those most durable of materials: granite and hardwood and steel. When kitchen fashion moves on the the next big thing (glass tile? concrete countertops?) all that perfectly good material will head to the landfill.
    Besides, my observation has been that simplest kitchens harbor the best cooks!

  16. As a General Contractor & FHA Approved 203k Rehab Consultant [huh? what's that ?] things are Improving...Owners should be aware of HUD's 203k Rehab Loan Program, this will take Housing out of the Dumps and put MILLIONS to work & money will flow again, even the Jiffy-Johns & Concrete Trucks will be seen again a comeback [Buy that Stock !]......your article of March 18, " Financing a Fixer-Upper "...Agents are afraid to educate themselve about this, the old List & Forget...MLS = Many Lazy it should be "If It Needs Repairs, It's a 203k Loan ! "

  17. Ms Yee, your images are really nice esp your images of Catherine Warrens residence. Nice interior shots; I hope my work gets as good as yours...take care