Friday, May 30, 2014

Don't Get Blind Sided by Winter! Surprisingly IMPORTANT Home Changes You'll Want to Do THIS FALL!

Are you ready to make some changes in your home, but need a few more months to plan and save?  

That's great.  Because the fall is one of the best times to tackle a home renovation project.  The air is cooler, you've recovered from tax season, and your updated space will be ready for entertaining during the winter holiday season. 

Don't Get Blind Sided by Winter!  Surprisingly IMPORTANT Home Changes You'll Want to Do THIS FALL!It's a positive all the way around, really.  While some projects will involve additions and renovations, more common projects focused on in the fall relate to sealing, protecting and repairing those trouble spots that are more likely to leak in the cold air and moisture.  

Ready for some great ideas?

Decks get a lot of use during long summer days. By the time fall comes around, they can look worn out and old. Once the deck is cleaned off and all summer chairs and tables are stored away, power-wash the deck. This will remove any dirt that is stuck in the wood grain and will take away the gray color that decks fade to over time. Fall is also a good time to reseal the deck if you use a sealant or stain.

Fall and winter bring visitors and family together to share meals and celebrate holidays. Do you have room for everyone?  You can expand a dining or family room pretty easily and be able to fit more people into your home in a more comfortable way.  You may also think of adding skylights or other windows to bring in more light to these spaces and the sun becomes more dormant. 

If you have old, single-pane windows, you will lose a significant amount of heat in the wintertime. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient, double-paned upgrades can pay for itself quickly in heat savings. Check all exterior doors to ensure that they are insulated and that there are no gaps or cracks between the doors and the frames that could let heat out. If you have weather stripping around doors, make sure it is intact and in good shape.

Once all the autumn leaves have fallen, cleaning out the roof gutters will save you from building up ice dams that can damage the roof in the winter. Blow out the gutters with a leaf blower or spray them down with a hose. Check for holes or any other damage to the gutters and repair them before heavy snow or rain makes them worse. It’s also a good time to take a look at the roof itself and fix any shingles that are curling or any flashing around chimneys that has come loose.

This could be a life saver in prolonging the warmth and glow of the summer months. Imagine a room addition, surrounded by windows that take in the heat of the autumn sun with the added bonus of a gentle ceiling fan and scattered indoor plants.  You'll have created your own oasis that is sure to bring you comfort and brighten the darker days to come!

Plumbing lines that aren't insulated and are in unheated spaces are a major cause of power use, as the water heater must work extra hard to heat water.  Check all of your plumbing lines to identify those that are outside or underneath the house, or are in an unheated basement or attic.  Foam wrap all exposed pipes.

At Unique Home Building, our contractors are dedicated to creating a home that feels like it's your very own.  As fall will be here before you know it, let us help you get the planning started, so that as the seasons pass, you know you are prepared to take the best of each along with you!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to Get a Top Dollar Return On Your Home Remodel Project

Preparing to sell your home? How to Get a Top Dollar Return On Your Home Remodel ProjectThere are some properties that seem to defy the market highs and lows, and are quickly snapped up in any market. Why? Because it’s a property that lots of buyers want – simple as that. And for any professional renovator, that’s your ultimate goal when you’re buying a property to renovate and sell.  

For anyone looking to make money from buying and renovating property, you need to follow a strategic plan - from the moment you decide to buy a property and begin your research, to the day that property is sold. Here’s a quick crash course in what to do – and what to avoid.

“Buyer objection” is a phrase you want to know well and avoid coming in contact with.  It refers to something that a potential buyer doesn’t like about a property. Sometimes these are problems that can be fixed and others you won't be able to do a thing about. For example, you can fix a dark room with interior lighting. But there’s really nothing you can do if the property is on a noisy main road. (If you are considering buying a home with the intention to flip it, don’t buy a property that has a clear major buyer objection that can’t be fixed. You may have found it at a cheap price, but the truth is,  your buyers will also be expecting a bargain when you resell and your fancy renovation will have been a waste.)
You're likely not going to win any fabulous design awards with your renovation project. So, keep it simple if you can. Be sure to choose a color palate that is modern, timeless and flexible. Use simple fixtures and fittings that look classy but don’t cost an arm and a leg. Generally, go for an overall look that has appeal for a broad spectrum of buyers. You want your buyers to be able to imagine themselves living in your property and creating a neutral setting lets the new owner add their own personality with ease. 
A good agent will get you the highest possible price within a reasonable time frame. Choose one with excellent local property knowledge, a proven local track record, good negotiating skills and a database of genuine buyers. Ask if you can speak with the owners of the last three properties the agent sold. If the agent is not forthcoming with these details, alarm bells should ring. And never sign an agent’s contract for any longer than 45 days. This gives you an out, sooner rather than later, if they fail to measure up.
There are always going to be good and bad times of the year for you to list your property. Spring tends to be popular, but that can also mean the market is suddenly flooded with properties, leaving buyers to pick and choose. Fewer properties are available in winter, giving buyers less choice, so you may want to capitalize on that. 
You need to know and accept what your property is worth, not just what you’d like it to be worth. Usually, if  a home isn't selling during the first listing period, it means the home is priced too high. Others that sell quickly may have been priced too low. Pricing your home correctly is critical, so really make sure you have a detailed conversation with your listing agent to plan your pricing strategy; including whether or not you want to go with an auction or private sale. As well, don't just take the agents word for it, do your own research so you know what similar properties to yours are selling for.
Listing your property with several agents won't increase your chances of finding more buyers. Listing exclusively creates loyalty, trust and ability for an agent to get the best price for you, rather than multiple agents trying to sell quickly at a lower price.
Before every open for inspection, take care of the details yourself. Do not leave this to the agent. Turn on all lights, open blinds and windows, light scented candles, place flowers around the place, flick on the funky tunes, sweep leaves off pathways, etc. You want your property looking A1 on inspection day.
8.  BE EASY 
Accelerate the process by having a building and pest inspection report prepared ahead of time from quality companies, with copies available at the open for inspection. Be open to all reasonable requests from your potential buyers. If you’re getting a price you’re happy with, why sweat the small stuff? Just go for the win-win.
These are just a few of the ways to make sure you are getting the best price possible for your renovated or remodeled home and property. The contractors at Unique Home Building are here to support you in the process.  Please get in touch and let us know how we can help!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Overwhelmed? Here Are Some Clear Points To Help You Know If a Home Remodel is For You!

Planning a home renovation can be feel like and inconvenient and costly endeavor, but it also increases the value and overall enjoyment of your home.  If you are having a hard time deciding whether or not to remodel your home, we hope hope these points help you make a decision that leaves you at peace and ready to move forward!

Two good reasons most people renovate their homes:
    Overwhelmed? Here Are Some Clear Points To Help You Know If a Home Remodel is For You!
  1. To add to the comfort, use and value of the home.
  2. To prepare it for sale.
Home Renovation can be a costly and inconvenient ordeal. So, before you jump into renovations, make sure you take time to consider whether the expense and disruption is justified and necessary!
Consider Your Long Term Motivations.
Staying in the home
If you intend to stay in the home you may want to:
  • Add extra space to accommodate an expanding family, or simply to add a sense of spaciousness.
  • Add rooms for special purposes, such as an office, game room or extra bath.
  • Change the layout of the house for better flow, use or relation to sun and views.
  • Update to give the house a fresher, more modern look – this could involve taking out walls to enlarge a room, putting in a new kitchen, or installing new lighting and ceilings. 
  • Restore the house to its original style (while adding modern features in some areas, like the kitchen and bathroom).
  • Add value to increase your investment.

Renovating to sell

If you are renovating to create better resale value, you’ll likely want to give the house an inexpensive face lift to freshen it up and make it more attractive to buyers. For example, repainting, or changing dated or damaged fixtures, such as a cracked sink in the bathroom.
Be aware of what your potential buyers will be looking for.  You'd be wise to keep everything fairly neutral to appeal to a wider range of people. Not everyone warms to bright feature walls or turquoise bathtubs.
Renovations that will increase the aesthetic appeal of your home may include accent painting in the kitchen and bathroom, or installing a deck to give an indoor-outdoor flow and an increased sense of space or some landscaping.
Just be sure no to spend money that you won’t get back from the sale price. You could even consult a real estate agent for ideas to increase the house’s appeal, and how much you should spend without overcapitalizing.

In conclusion, remodeling is detailed and costly process that benefits you in the short and long term.  As time goes by, your home will only decrease or increase in value.  So whether or not you choose to sell soon, or enjoy it for years to come, you can better the quality of it to benefit you in both cases.  We understand that it can be overwhelming though and our contractors at Unique Home Building in Dallas, Texas are here to make this the best situation experience we can, for you! Call us today to let us know how we can help!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Feeling the Heat? Here Are 7 Hot Tips For a Cool House That You Can Do Yourself!

When the heat turns up, one of the only things on your mind is the need to cool down. Like a basis for survival, we take cold showers, run ice cubes up and down our limbs and wonder if we'll asphyxiate once we dare to get dressed.  
feeling the heat of summer?  Don't let it get you down! Here are 7 HOT tips to keep a COOLER house in the summer!

Perhaps I can share a few insights to prevent such extreme panic for those hot days that are either already here, or are soon to come.  
Best part is?  Most of it, you can do yourself.  Here are some hot tips for staying cool.

Reduce the cooling load by using cost-effective energy conservation measures. Make sure you have effective shade coverings for east and west windows. When possible, try to avoid heat-generating activities such as dish washing and especially baking, until evening on hot days.
White reflects sunlight and heat, so using white window blinds and shades during the hotter months will help to make sure that less heat enters your home. By preventing your home from heating up, you'll stay cooler and also put less stress on the cooling systems reducing your energy bill significantly.

During most of the hot season, do your best to keep the windows and doors closed tight during the day with the suggested window coverings stated above. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
Another lower cost way to keep cool in summer is to use a ceiling fan. While a ceiling fan does not lower the warm temperature, it cools you circulating the air more vigorously. Ceiling fans are low in price and consume far less energy than an air conditioner. By using a ceiling fan in an air conditioned room you will be able to set the thermostat higher and still feel comfortable. Since a ceiling fan cools by circulating the air, you need to switch it on only if you are in the room. This will also help reduce your energy bill.

In hot, humid climates, make sure that the air conditioner you buy will adequately get rid of high humidity. Models with variable or multi-speed blowers are generally best. Try to keep moisture sources out of the house.
Just as white blinds and shades help reflect sunlight and heat away from the windows, a light colored roof will reflect heat away from the roof. This will mean that your home will be significantly cooler over all, in the summer months.
Plants absorb both the light and heat from the sun and convert it into energy for growth and cleaning the air. Additionally, during photosynthesis, plants release water into the air, thereby cooling the surrounding air. When you have a lot of plants around your home, they cool the general atmosphere around them, reducing the amount of heat entering your home. Additionally, you can also plant shade giving trees around your home to further reduce the heat reaching it. This will enable you to use nature to keep your home cool in the hot weather.

See?  It's not so bad.  Sure, it will require a little effort, but nothing that won't be more than worth it in the end.   And if you'd like to make a bigger effort, but would rather not cut the extra sweat, talk to us at Unique Home Building and tell us how we can make your summer a cooler one!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

4 Major Tips to Avoid a Home Renovation Nightmare!

don't make the same mistakes that many others have!  check out these major tips to avoid a home renovation nightmare!
Some home renovation mistakes can be big and some can be small.  But what they all have in common is that they are usually avoidable. We, at Unique Home Building, have seen it all.  There are some serious mistakes that we've seen time and time again, and are happy to share some of the wisdom we've gained from other's mistakes over the years.  This way, you can learn to avoid them, the easy way.

*Don't rush into the project.  It's common to underestimate the costs, time, difficulties and setbacks that can accompany even the smallest of projects.  The more you prepare for the potential for these mistakes to occur, the more less painful shock will be if and when they do show up.  This is also a good time to check in with your insurance company to see whether or not your policy will change or if additional coverage is needed either during or after the renovation.

*Remember to get your permits.  You may not realize it, but many home improvement and renovation jobs require a permit; even the simple little jobs you want to do yourself. So, play it safe and just assume you'll need either a city or county permit before starting your remodeling project. There may be a fee, and you'll likely wait a few weeks before getting a response, so make sure to work those costs and waiting periods into your costs and action plan. It may be easy to want to sneak past that permit, but that could cause bigger problems later on, when it's time to sell your home.  So make it a priority to just do the process right!

*Consider your home's resale value.  While you may have a fantasy going in your mind of a unique home renovation thats speaks of your individuality and taste, a wise homeowner that cares about resale value, will invest in projects that will increase the property's worth. If you pour your money into less important remodeling projects, you likely won't see much of a return on your investment, especially if what you've done turns your home into the highest priced property on the block.  Consider modernized bathrooms and showers, trending open floor plans and water conserving landscapes around the front and back yards.

*Mixing measurements. This is where you have to be totally precise.  You know that old adage that states, "measure twice, cut once?"  Well, here's where it's truth rings the loudest. When you are dealing with the square footage of a floor to the size of a fixture - you can't be off at all.  If you are off by even the smallest amount, you'll not only loose time, but it can drive your costs through the roof... (maybe even literally!) So to be sure to get it right, check the detailed instructions either online or print.  You can talk to the people at your hardware store for further assistance if you're finding all of this to be a true challenge. But what's the best option? Hire a professional contractor.  This is their expertise, right?  You be the visionary. Let the experts make your dream come true.  

At Unique Home Building, we understand the value of your investment and even more, the value of feeling good in the home you're in.   Don't make the above mistakes.  Take the process seriously.  And if we, at Unique, can be of service in any way along your home remodeling journey, let us know. That's what we are here for.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: 5 Tips for Easy Green Home Renovation

Our homes tend to need a face lift after a while with either little changes or some major updating. Those old walls can seem tired and in need of a little refreshment.  Of course, in an ideal situation, you may even like to move into a larger home but the economy is tight and you want to spend your money wisely. That's fine and commendable. If instead, you decide to renovate your home, you'll not perk it up but also be better able to accommodate your current needs and lifestyle.  Extra bonus? Think about including some environmentally savvy ways to update your lovely home!
Looking to move? You may be able to simply give a facelift to the home you already have, with Unique Home Build in Dallas, Texas.

1. Reuse When You Revamp

Though it's easy to get caught up in the race of having the newest and shiniest toys, you don't have to succumb to it! Instead, think about other materials like reclaimed wood which is not only an environmentally sound choice, but classically handsome and gaining popularity in many home renovation projects. Reclaimed wood can be used to update counter-tops, floors, and walls. This will save you time, money and energy, in the end,  that would be required to produce a similar and newer product.

2. Deconstruct; Rather Than Demolish!

Before you start tearing down walls or knocking down entire rooms,  try taking a walk around your home first to see what you can salvage reorganize first. This will both save you money in the end and start your process on an eco-friendly note.  It's likely you have a ton of material you can salvage and re-use that you don't even realize. From lights, to flooring, cabinets, bricks, tiles and molding, instead of tossing them, consider how you can use them in another room  - perhaps your kitchen, dining room, even a bathroom!

3. Recycle Your Excess! 

Instead of tossing that grotesque chandelier in the dining room, bring it to your local Goodwill or consignment shop. Maybe you even have a crafty friend who'd enjoy repainting and re-purposing it. You could also donate them for reuse with Habitat for Humanity.  Not only do they welcome all unwanted materials, but they sell all donations and 100% of the proceeds from these materials are used to build new homes for the underprivileged.  This is both environmentally sound and gives back to your community.  Win, win. 
4. Energy Savers...
When shopping for new refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens  be sure to look for those that are the most energy efficient. You'll know them, as they will generally have the Energy Star logo visible on them and will give you all the needed energy saving information you're looking for. 

5. Make it a Reface.

Maybe you didn't realize this, but the greatest expense of any kitchen remodel may very well could be your cabinets. Instead of just replacing them altogether, think about repainting them or simply refacing them. It's most likely that your cabinets are in great conditions. New doors, drawers, paint and knobs can give seemingly tired cabinets a whole new life!
Those tips are great to get you started thinking about more sustainable options in remodeling for you home and wallet.  For any project you choose to do, be sure to contact us at Unique Home Building and know that your home renovation project is in good hands.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lifestyle and Remodeling Ideas to Keep Your Home Fresh, Vibrant and Healthy

It can be really frustrating when you live in a home that feels stifling, suffocating or stagnant in nature.  You can't just move, so what do you do? We want to share some simple ideas with you whether you are looking to remodel or even boost your lifestyle to keep your home fresh, vibrant and healthy.
it can be hard to be motivated to be healthy.  Take the first steps by starting at home.  Create a green home and green life with Unique Home Building.

When we are honest with ourselves, we all want to feel free and healthy.  We may not feel like doing the work, like eating well or staying fit, but it doesn't mean we don't enjoy that light and lively feeling you get from a healthy lifestyle.   Regardless of your motivation for life fitness, you can incorporate healthy practices and ideas into your home to jump start that fresh healthy feeling.

Ready to keep it fresh? If remodeling is an option for you, add skylights or complementary windows to dark or stagnant places to create a more fluid air flow.  Make sure to open doors and windows throughout the day and briefly in the morning, to release the sleep air and welcome the fresh air. Circulation is a huge key here!

Make life colorful! Add vibrancy and feeling to the home with the use of color, clutter free surfaces and inspirational art.  Color psychology has shown us that different colors affect different moods in our minds and day.  For example, a messy dark room with dark red paint tends to make people feel aggressive.  Lighten the color or accent with minimalism, clear the space of color, and add a light or window.  You will feel lighter and more at peace.  It's incredible. Lastly, have beautiful art on the walls.  Displaying other's creations of self expression allows us to be inspired to be our unique selves and create further beauty in our lives.

Keep it green.  Not the color, but the mindset. In your kitchen, have a composting bin and recycling container.  Use natural products for cleaning.  Get an oil diffuser, clean the air and release the healing benefits of essential oils  into the air for your health and the health of those in your home!  Place plants around the home both on the floor and suspended from the ceiling.

Every small step helps.  Once you take one, the next will have more pull and you'll find yourself excited about bringing more of a healthy lifestyle into your home!

When you are ready to make some green remodeling changes to you home, call the contractors at Unique Home Building, in Dallas, Texas to turn your house into your dream green home.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

5 Important Tips to Read Before Remodeling or Renovating Your Home!

build a green home with the Dallas, Texas contractors at Green remodeling is a hot topic these days and it's no surprise either. But there are so many options out there to make sure your home is efficient, sustainable and has a low carbon impact on the environment. We don't want you to feel overwhelmed and all and would like to take some of the planning stress away! So here are 5 important tips to read before remodeling or renovating your home.   

Before You Create, Re-Evaluate.
Before you choose to dive in and remodel, re-evaluate what you currently have to work with. Consider your floor plan, your reasons, what you have to achieve and how long it will all take. Remember to rally work with your floor plan. Do what it is you know you need to do but also see what's possible on a smaller scale for more sustainable options and to save you money- which everyone enjoys! Be sure to ask yourself, do you really need more space? How much space do you need to be comfortable in your home? Are you able to borrow from the adjacent space to create the extra square footage you're wanting? If you still need more space, feel free to consider a small addition.

Remodeling can be a difficult and often stressful project, so if you feel in doubt about anything along the way, that's what we at Unique Home Building are here for. Allow us to be the professionals to assist in this exciting process. You wouldn't perform your own surgery, so let the expert do it.

Time for an Audit
Don't worry.  We aren't talking about your taxes, so rest at ease! A great idea is to audit your energy usage and efficiency, helping you keep in mind the sustainable changes you can make throughout your whole process.  By including a thorough energy audit, you'll not only save money, but in the end, you'll lower your home emissions on an even grander scale.  As a result, your home will be easier to maintain and you'll be proud of your lowered carbon footprint; win win for everyone, right?

Go for Quality
It's the same for most people, you'll feel most like you are 'home' when you walk in and the feel has quality and unique character. However keep in mind that if you go too far, you're going to end up with a cluttered space that feels both uninspired and no longer like a representation of you. When a room feels inspiring, we are more likely to care for it with gratitude and sustain it's character. 

Lighting Makes Things Clearer
If you can include reflective surfaces in darker rooms, you'll be able to augment natural light within your space. One less obvious way to do this is by adding a built-in bookshelf near a window. The shelving edges act as reflective surfaces, bouncing extra light into the room.

Another option is to add a window adjacent to a perpendicular wall, instead of the usual central location; this way, the wall becomes a reflective surface for the light as well. Finally, you can also place soffit reflectors above windows to help transfer light into a room with further reflection. All of these alternative lighting sources help with the ambiance and feel of a space.

Just Add Color
The way the light falls on the colors of your walls can totally transform the feel of a room. You'll first need to determine the most important wall in each room (your accent wall). This will be the place to which you want to draw peoples’ attention. Figure that out and paint it to your heart’s desire.
At this point, remodeling can allow for more personal freedom of expression in your home. Don't be shy, rather be creative and experiment with color varieties and  how they each make you feel in the space. Paint large pieces of paper in every color you could imagine (even some you wouldn't normally pick) tack them to the wall to see what looks good.  You may be surprised to find that the brightest or most unexpected shade fits perfectly on your favorite wall.

Those are some easy to do, responsible actions to take before undergoing a major home renovation, especially when you are wanting to be environmentally conscious with your green remodeling.   We hope they were helpful.  For further help and planning, talk to Dallas, Texas contractors at Unique Home Building, to see how your house can become a greener home. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

For Mother's Day, Give Mom Her Dream ....

surprise mom with her dream home this year.  Remodel, renovate, create and show her what she means to you!For Mother's Day this year, why not go all out and give mom what she really wants; her dream Home. Don't let that idea overwhelm you.  These things are easier to do than you may think, especially with the contractors at Unique Home Building!  We know people's needs land all over the place on the spectrum and yours are unique like you and your mom!

Does this mean you have to knock down your whole house and start over? (No, though you still may want to and we won't stop you!)  However, giving mom her dream home could be as simple as knocking down a wall to expand into a more welcoming space, adding windows for light, or even an extra floor or room.  You have endless options, so why not explore them and see what would be good for her?

Not all mom's are the same and nor do they want the same things.  But I think it's safe to categorize a few 'mom' needs below to help us get some ideas flowing!


What do you think?  Does that cover it for the most part?  Let's look at each idea further and see how we could make a better home for mom with those topics in mind.

Moms like it clean.  Even the ones that don't mind the mess like it clean.  No matter how much the rest of the family helps out, mom is the ultimate judge of 'clean' and that's fine.  So, let's make it easier on everyone.  What can we do for this?

  • add a laundry room with built-ins that feels fresh and breezy
  • add kitchen organization and better cabinets 
  • add closet organization to bigger closets
  • clean out garage and organize the storage to be easily found and added to

Who doesn't like to feel inspired?  Well, usually, only the ones that haven't been inspired so long, they don't know what to do with it.  Mom's, like everyone, need an expressive and inspirational outlet.  This is an easy one to do and she'll be so happy you did it!

  • convert a room/garage into a crafting room for art, music, scrap booking, photography...
  • add a window seat or reading nook for the avid reader.  (really make it great and add a special space just for her coffee or tea)   
She's a hard worker and deserves a place to relax.  From overworked mind and body to being the family nurse and chauffeur, this talented woman needs a place to put her feet up!
  • Build her a sauna.  This will be good for her nerves, her skin and over all health. BIG WIN.
  • Add a deck to the backyard to house a hot tub with an arbor above for vines to wrap themselves around. 
  • Do both of those things.  Can you imagine going to the sauna and then the hot tub?  That would be one happy woman.
A sister need to relaxation is rejuvenation.  Once you've given her the chance to relax, give her the chance to feel alive and ready for anything! She needs to feel exhilarated and strong; because that's her natural, deeper state!
  • Add a body space, like an exercise room or yoga studio
  • Make a space for raised gardening beds in the back or front yard
  • Ride a bike - You could do a lot with this one.  One bigger idea is to place a stationary bike stand for your conventional bike, into the exercise room, with a fan and a flat screen set up. This is a bit complex, but great for those really hot days where it's just too hot outside to do what she's love to do. 
The ideas here are countless and that's just the beginning!  Can you imagine, handing her a ribbon wrapped box, and the expression of joy on her face when the note inside is her ticket to better life quality in her own home??  That, would be priceless and we can't wait to help you with it. Contact us at Unique Home Builders, in Dallas, Texas for all your home renovation needs.