The Remodeled Homes Tour Is This Weekend!

We are getting excited for the Remodeled Homes Tour, which is only a day away. To help you get the most out of your experience, we've put together some tips for taking the tour. We hope you have a great time touring the 15 homes on the 2016 tour!

Tips for Taking the Tour

Navigate with Ease

Before the tour, check out the map and project listings to decide which homes you want to see. During the tour, you can navigate from house using your smartphone. Just visit our mobile-friendly guide: www.remodeltour.com/mobile

Download the Guide

If you prefer, you can download and print the official tour guide here.

Wear the Right Shoes

We have a shoes-off-booties-on policy so please wear easily removable footwear.

Bring Your Tickets

Please print your tickets and bring them with you or have them ready to show at the door on your phone. If you haven't registered for the tour yet, you can do so on our ticketing page. If you've registered and just need to print your tickets, just look for the confirmation email you received from Eventbrite. If you can't find it, you can visit this page to print your tickets.

Start at Any of the Homes

Please begin at any of the homes on the tour, not the Bellevue address on your Eventbrite ticket. (The address listed on Eventbrite is for the Master Builders Association headquarters, which will be closed this weekend.)

Remember That Not All of the Homes Are Open Sunday

All 15 homes are open Saturday, but not all homes are open Sunday. Please check the official tour guide or our online guide for a listing of days the homes are open.

Consider Making a Donation

The tour is completely free, but many visitors have chosen to make a donation to our charity partner Rebuilding Together Seattle. If you haven't made a donation yet, you will have the opportunity to do so at many of the homes on the tour. Look for volunteers from Rebuilding Together Seattle, who will be on hand at some of the homes to answer questions and explain the great work the organization does to help our low-income neighbors with free home repairs.

Have a Great Time!

Most importantly, get ready for a fun and inspiring weekend exploring some of the top remodeling projects in the Puget Sound region and meeting the building professionals who made them happen. It is our sincere hope that you gather lots of useful ideas and learn about the remodel process. Thanks for taking part in this one-of-a-kind event!

Remodel or Relocate? 8 Critical Questions to Consider

Home buying and home remodeling television programs aren’t just a fad; their enduring popularity indicates that they’re here to stay. If you’re among the growing masses of dedicated viewers, you might begin (if you haven’t already) to look around and notice some of your own home’s shortcomings. Inadequate storage, limited cooking space or simply an outdated design might conjure thoughts of one day remodeling your kitchen, bathrooms or living spaces. Or instead, perhaps you’ll begin to consider moving into a bigger or newer home. 

Whether you decide to remodel or relocate, your decision will involve a great deal of logistics, emotions and, of course, finances. Thoroughly weighing the pros and cons of each option now will help you feel more prepared to act when the time is right. 

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What’s in the budget? The first step is the most obvious: you’ll need to crunch some numbers to determine what is financially feasible. Remodeling can be a great investment and save you the hassle of moving. But it requires a great deal of patience and flexibility. On the other hand, buying a home can be instantly gratifying, but the true costs of buying (and selling) – such as commissions, closing costs and moving fees – need to be part of the equation, as that is money you won’t get back.
  2. Is it a simple fix that you can do yourself? Or a bigger project that will require a professional? Some homeowners are especially handy and want to tackle the job themselves. But most others like having the assurance of knowing a professional – who has the necessary equipment, expertise and resources – will get the job done right the first time. 
  3. What is the current value of your home compared to similar homes in your neighborhood? If your home is already the most expensive one in the neighborhood, you might not see a significant return on your investment if you remodel. But if comparable home values are greater than your home’s value, you’re much more likely to see a strong return by making improvements. 
  4. How might your decision impact your taxes? Remodeling your current home or moving to a new home will have an effect on your property taxes. The change may or may not be significant, so it’s good to keep it in mind. 
  5. How might your needs change in the next 3, 5 or 10 years? A growing family, kids going off to college, an aging family member moving in – all are examples of factors that can significantly impact your future requirements for a home.  
  6. Is the layout of your current home conducive to a remodel? All other considerations aside, if you have limited options to alter your home in a way that will address your needs (such as load-bearing walls that can’t be removed, or space constraints that will not allow for an addition), you may need to consider moving. 
  7. Are there any zoning restrictions that would affect the remodeling project(s) you envision? These laws vary widely by area, so go to your local zoning office and ask for a copy of your local ordinance. 
  8. How do you feel about your current neighborhood? Even if you changed everything about your home, there are many things outside of your home over which you have no control. Give some thought to the school district, proximity to work, parks and shopping centers, and the overall look and feel of the community. 

The answers to these questions are different for everyone, which is why it is important for you to carefully consider each one while keeping in mind your unique situation. This will help you effectively determine which step is right for you so that you can be confident in your home’s ability to keep up with the demands of your everyday life. 

For additional resources on remodeling your home or buying a new home, turn to the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties: www.mbaks.com.

The 5 Questions to Ask Before You DIY

guest post by Daniel Westbrook
Brought to you by Dunn Lumber

I am so inspired when I see people making their house into a home. It reminds me of our individual desire to roll up our sleeves and create a living space that becomes a unique extension of individual style. Home is our personal refuge from the outside world; home should feel warm and secure, a place where we raise families, create memories with friends, and celebrate the passing seasons.

The thing to remember is that working on your home isn't always as easy as these big-box stores or TV shows make it out to be. With the help of TV editing, it might seem like a bathroom remodel takes just three days. But the reality is that it could be six weeks or more, even if done by a professional contractor!

Sometimes a remodel just takes up a lot more time than you anticipated, and ends up on the back burner where you find yourself cutting corners in order to save time. It often turns out to be more complicated than you initially thought—which you may only discover after removing the entire bathroom down to its studs. Maybe your home is in a value market that attracts savvy buyers who want to see if past work has been completed by a licensed contractor. It could also be as simple as this: what is valuable to you isn't valuable to someone else.

There are three things that are important to avoid when embarking on a DIY project because they can affect the long-term value of your home.

  1. Changing structural integrity in any way.
  2. Changing your home's utilities, like electrical, plumbing, or heating
  3. Cheapening the most value-added features for a home, namely kitchens and bathrooms.

In the end the best practice is to use a mixture of DIY and professional contractors to keep your home uniquely yours, and also maintained for the long term. Here are five questions you should ask before attempting a DIY project.

1. What skill level is required for this project?

Don't even start projects that are beyond your skill level. With all the information out there, it's easy to learn how something is done. However, practice is what brings out the best quality or performance of a final product. So if you're learning how, for instance, to install moulding, it's best to stick to areas that are not seen—like closets or a garage—and hire a contractor to install the moulding in the high-visual parts of your home. The point here is to know your skill level. Try to understand the depth of the project you're taking on, and try to see how the project may affect your home.

2. How big will this project end up being?

It's best to think about what it takes to stick with completing a large project, before you decide to contract your own job and do much of the hands-on work yourself. I know two people who decided to do their own basement remodels and each of them took three years to complete the project! I've seen a lot of major DIY projects simply abandoned halfway through.

3. Do you know the codes and laws?

Codes are about safety. It's best-practice to use a licensed electrician or plumber when you want these systems updated or changed in some way. Things like railing or stairs need to be built to certain very specific standards for safety.

4. Does your landscaping pose a hazard?

I've seen a lot of homes with soil on or near wood siding. Soil should be 6" away from the lowest board, otherwise it's an invitation for bugs—and of course, wood decay. Keep soil away from siding and keep plants away from the side of your home. Shrubs and trees retain a lot of moisture, and that can be bad for your siding and wall envelope. Also, I've seen—and fixed—serious structural decay, directly related to shrubs and moisture against homes.

5. Does water drainage lead away from your house?

It's always a best-practice to keep soil, walkways, patios, etc. sloping away from the foundation of your home. I've seen too many foundations leaking because of avoidable heavy drainage directed into them.

From the shabby-chic, to the contemporary, to the antique collector, or the farmhouse, there's something life-giving in the act of seeking out, and creating our own spaces. Part of this is the desire to DIY, which has been a desire, long, long before the phrase was ever coined. So, have fun with your space, maintain your home, till the garden, make memories, and enjoy life! Just keep these tips in mind and be aware of how major projects could affect both your safety and the value of your home. 

Explore projects at Dunn DIY

 

How to Hire an Honest Contractor

So you're ready to rejuvenate your home, but how do you find a remodeler you can trust? Hiring a building professional is a big step, and you want to make sure you choose carefully. After all, hiring a a fly-by-night contractor can be a disaster. Follow these simple steps to ensure you hire a reputable professional.

Price and payment

  • Don’t get pressured into signing a contract immediately. You should not be told that you need to sign a contract that day or risk a price increase. 
  • Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent is common; however, you should not be asked to pay the full cost in advance, before work begins.   
  • Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment options. You should not be asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check, money order or credit card to a company.

References

  • Confirm that the contractor has a verifiable mailing address for his business. 
  • Check the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org, to ensure the business doesn’t have any unresolved complaints. 
  • Ask the contractor for references for past work and be sure the references can be reached.
  • Check out the business on consumer review sites such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, etc. Remember, it’s important to take the good with the bad when reading online reviews. 

Contract and completion

  • Be cautious of anyone that tells you that “a contract won’t be necessary.” Insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor. 
  • Ensure that the final payment is not due until the job is completely finished and you are fully satisfied with it. Find out if any of the work requires city or county inspection, and make sure that is done and you have paperwork to prove it before you make the final payment. 

Check out examples of past work

  • One of the best ways to judge a contractor is to let his or her work speak for itself. Try to see a contractor's completed projects in person or, if that's not possible, in photos. Going on the Remodeled Homes Tour, October 8-9, 2016, is an easy way to check out many contractors' projects.

Start with Master Builders Association members

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties is the oldest and largest homebuilders association in the United States. Our member companies are involved in every facet of the homebuilding industry and they participate in continuing education to assure the highest standards of building practices, as well as safety on the job for their employees. All of our contractor members are registered, offer a minimum one-year warranty and are bonded and insured. View our member directory.

Following these guidelines will help you select a contractor who will do quality work and stand behind it. To learn more about finding a reliable contractor with an established business in our community, contact the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties

5 Tips for Hiring a Remodeler

Are you thinking about remodeling your home to fit your changing needs, rather than selling your home and buying another one? If so, you’ll soon learn that even simple remodels can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. With that type of investment on the line, it’s important to find a contractor you can trust. 

We've put together these the top five tips to ensure you make the right decisions as you search for, evaluate and hire a remodeler. 

1. Always Go with a Pro

A great place to start is the Member Directory on the Master Builders Association website or contact us at 425-451-7920. A professional remodeler will uphold the highest professional and ethical standards in the industry. These sources can also help you find a remodeler who specializes in a specific type of remodeling if you need it, such as a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) to help modify your home to better suit you as you age, or a Certified Green Remodeler (CGP) to make your home more energy-efficient.  

2. Do Your Research

Look at the prospective remodeler’s company website and social media accounts to see photos of their work. Visit review sites like HomeAdvisor, Houzz, Angie’s List, etc., to see more pictures and to read reviews of remodeling companies. Take the good with the bad when reading online reviews and focus on the descriptions of experiences and qualities that are most important to you as a customer. Ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done on comparable homes under similar schedules. 

3. Create Your Short List

Once you have a list of potential home remodelers for your project, do a little more background research to verify that they are appropriately licensed and have a good business track record. Look them up with your local or state office of consumer protection. Verify that the remodeler has the appropriate licenses and registrations.

4. Start Taking Notes

When you begin meeting with remodelers, you want to find out information such as: 

  • How long they have been in business in your community? Can they provide references from customers and suppliers they work with? 
  • Do they carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates.
  • What is their working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area, and what sort of issues could arise?
  • Do they arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and therefore liable for the work)
  • Do they provide a written estimate before beginning the work, and a detailed contract that spells out the work that will and will not be performed, protects both of you, provides a fair payment schedule contract and complies with local, state, and federal laws?

5. Trust Your Instincts

Make sure you are compatible with the contractor you select. Beginning your project with mutual expectations will go a long way towards a smooth remodel. You’ll spend a lot of time with your remodeler so it’s important to have a good rapport and trust in him or her. 

For more information about remodeling your home, go to http://www.masterbuildersinfo.com/index.cfm?/Consumers/Remodel-Your-Home.