Thursday, July 30, 2009

How to Convince Your Spouse You Need to Remodel

Here are some great lines to use to convince your spouse you need to remodel:

1. We can get a federal tax credit at 30% of the cost up to $1500 for windows and doors, insulation, a new roof, upgraded HVAC, or a new water heater...and think of the savings on our monthly utility bills!
2. The kids are getting older and need a place to hang out with their friends. I'd rather refinish the basement and have them stay here than have them running around "who-knows-where".
3. It's so dark in this house. Wouldn't it be nice to have more natural light in here? I wish we could bring the outside in.
4. I really don't think Grandma should live alone. Let's think about moving her in with us.
5. Someone could trip and fall on this broken concrete. Why don't we replace the patio with a wood deck?
6. Now that we cook at home more often, I feel like we need to upgrade our appliances.
7. I know you want the flat-screen tv, but where are we going to put it?
8. No one is going to buy this house with these outdated cabinets and worn carpet.
9. If you're going to telecommute, you're going to have to have a home office.
10. Now that the kids have moved out, wouldn't it be nice to have a first-floor master bedroom suite with our own bath?
And if you need more supporting evidence of the value of remodeling, check out this remodeling cost vs. value report from Remodeling Magazine.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Going Green

Green, green, green...That seems to be all you hear these days. Whether it's packaging, manufacturing, transportation, or technology, it seems to be a contest to see who can be the "greenest." I know the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders said in the most recent Builder magazine that "the future is green" and green building is a "sure thing." Sure, it's a great idea to do as much for the environment as possible. However, many builders have been doing the things promoted in green programs for years---without the need to be "certified." For example, the first guideline of NAHB's National Green Home Building Program covers lot design, preparation, and development. Barry has always considered those issues when designing a home. He works hard to incorporate the design into the landscape and to position the house on the site for maximum energy efficiency. His goal is always to preserve as much of the natural setting as possible. The second guideline emphasizes resource, energy, and water efficiency. Of course, we've considered those things for years, and we've tried to help the client understand the trade-offs for things like 2x6 walls or high-efficiency HVAC systems. The third guideline involves indoor environmental quality. We've always researched things like insulation, paint, carpet, and other materials in order to offer the best and safest products for our clients and for the environment. Finally, the last guideline focuses on operation, maintenance, and homeowner education. We found long ago that it pays to spend time throughout the building process to educate our homeowners and include them in the construction process. A well-educated homeowner feels confident in his selections and can enjoy his new home for years. Consequently, his referrals bring more "green" to our business!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Aging in Place

Barry's meeting on Saturday got me thinking. He presented a proposal for a room addition to a middle-aged couple who have an older parent living with them. They want to build what traditionally has been called a "mother-in-law" suite. We've been hearing this more and more all the time...multi-generational living is becoming quite common.
Of course, Grandma doesn't always want to come live with the family. She often prefers to stay right at home. In fact in a recent AARP survey, 79% of participants said they wanted to "stay in their current home for as long as possible." I'm thinking that our Senior Safety package might be just what folks need to help retirees "age in place." Some simple, relatively inexpensive renovations can give everyone a little peace of mind.
Consider these remodeling possibilities for the seniors in your life:
  • Add a railing so that stairs have railings on both sides.
  • Add an additional, lower peephole to the front door.
  • Add wood transition strips between rooms that may have changes in floor height to reduce the risk of tripping.
  • Add a small shelf near the exterior door to place packages, groceries, or keys.
  • Consider new appliances that make accessibility easier for someone in a wheelchair or with a walker.
  • Add recessed lights to make reading easier.
  • Add grab bars or a walk-in shower with seat for added safety in the bath.
  • When exterior steps become difficult, replace with a ramp.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Welcome to my Blog

I've decided to start a blog for those interested in new homes and remodeling in the Cincinnati area. Building Images, Inc. was started in 1988 by my husband Barry Cooper. We entered the homebuilding business at a time when mortgage interest rates were in double-digits. We've seen the economic boom that followed, and most recently we've seen the bottom fall out of the housing market. However, within the last month or so, we sense renewed housing activity. From a national perspective, we see tiny signs of improving economic indicators. From a personal perspective, we know 3 young friends shopping for their first homes. Even more directly, we have had more telephone inquiries about our building and remodeling services in the last month than we had in the prior 12 months!
With all that said, it seems like a good time to start a blog. I anticipate having lots to say as housing starts its upswing. Feel free to add comments or ask questions if we can help with your new home or remodeling projects.