Sarasota FL Real Estate Blog

Hiring Your Contractor: A Guide

Home RenovationAt some point, whether it's just after moving in, or after many years in the same house, homeowners inevitably will change or upgrade their home. Reasons for doing so may be to broaden the property's appeal, increase the quality of living, increase income potential in the form of a rental unit, or simply keep up maintenance and repairs so that the home retains its value. Regardless of the reason why you've decided to renovate, you'll be happier with the changes if you consider a few tips before hiring a contractor for the first time.

You should always be cautious of anyone who comes to your front door to solicit business. That's not to say there aren't legitimate business people, like roofers or driveway pavers, who do this to get new clients. However, as you would for any employee, you should still check their references before deciding to hire them. Never immediately agree to hire someone who goes door to door to create business, especially for a large-scale renovation.

Before hiring your contractor, don't hesitate to perform a simple background check. This can include checking the Better Business Bureau to find out if there is a history of problems with the company, or contacting any local homebuilder's associations to find...

What to Do When Wood Panelling Won't Do

Ugly Wood PanellingIf you're the proud owner of a home built in the 1970s or early 1980s, you probably have some wood panelling lurking in your house, waiting for the perfect moment to overwhelm you with its garishness. If it's faux panelling, all the more reason to be nauseous. Even if your home was not built in the golden era of veneer wall coverings, you may just be unlucky enough to have inherited the previous owners' bad taste. Whatever the reason for your unfortunate circumstance, you can breathe a sigh of relief because there is hope! Yes, there are several relatively easy ways to get rid of your panelling, or at least disguise it, so you can move on with your life.

The easiest way to give your panelling a lift is by painting it. This process, of course, can either go amazingly right or horribly wrong. To ensure your hard work pays off, it is so si-highlight--primary to prepare your surface beforehand. Protect the surrounding areas by laying down a drop cloth, then sand away to your heart's content. Wipe away the dust with a damp town, tape your ceiling to ensure paint doesn't cross the line, and cut in with your desired color. Do remember to use a paint that is compatible with your panelling material. In other words, if you have vinyl panelling, use an oil-based paint, not latex. Your panelling...

Basement Renovations: A Primer

What do you think of when you hear the word "basement"? Do you think of your basement as a dingy, cold place with cinderblocks, spiders, and a strange smell you'd rather ignore? Or is it simply a part of your home used for storage and nothing else? No matter what kind of basement you have, chances are pretty good you could be using it more to your advantage. A basement is a great way to leverage the size of your home for tenant occupancy, build a rec room, or convert it to a "man cave".

Creating a livable suite in your basement is a great way to get some increased value from your home, for help with mortgage payments, or just to put into savings for the maintenance of your home. Once you've gone through with the proper contractors/architects/inspectors to make sure permits, drainage, air circulation, ceiling height, and other considerations pose no problems, you can get on with the reno. You may want to hire an expert or do it yourself, but whichever option you choose, make sure you do your research. If you scrimp on materials and your rental is not a pleasant place to live, you'll go through tenants often, risking missed rent payments.

Basement Rec RoomA basement rec room is perfect for fitness buffs or families with rambunctious kids. Having a large indoor space for games and other activities can be...