Why Homeowners Need Responsive Virginia General Contractors

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor, Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-general-contractorsRenovations include countless small tasks that come together to form a brand new space within your home. And any of those small jobs can get complicated. Responsive Virginia general contractors work hard to communicate with homeowners and tackle every problem efficiently with the customer’s satisfaction in mind.

Why is Responsiveness an Important Trait in a General Contractor?

Most people hire a general contracting firm to take care of major home renovations like kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations, roofing, siding and deck construction. These projects must be handled carefully from the design stage to completion, including all of the many steps in between. General contractors have the skills and knowledge to manage these projects well.

Do you really need to be in constant communication with the contractor throughout your project? Maybe not, but it’s important to hire a contracting firm you can trust with your home.

Look for a contractor dedicated to customer service and willing to talk with and listen to their customers. Make sure they’re willing to take the time to meet with you regularly, going over the details of the project and answering any questions or concerns that you have.

Unresponsive contractors leave their clients guessing in terms of scheduling, pricing, and even warranty issues. You’re bound to find it frustrating when your phone calls and emails go unanswered. This is especially true if the contractor does not have an office or showroom you can visit.

Clients also want their contractor to maintain good communication with subtrades, suppliers and the local building department. This helps keep your project moving along quickly. If the company has a track record of responsiveness you can be confident that they’ll stay in touch with all of those involved in the job.

How Virginia General Contractors Should Communicate

Does your preferred contractor have a cell phone, and are they willing to provide you with that number? Can you contact them in the evenings or on the weekend with questions and issues? If not, can you rely on them to respond to phone messages or emails within a reasonable time frame?

Good communication skills also mean clear and consistent paperwork. Did your general contractor provide you with a detailed estimate of the project and/or an easy to read design? When the project is done experienced contractors will provide a thorough bill detailing any extras, deposits, and draws on the project. They should also offer documentation that spells out your warranty coverage.

You can gauge the responsiveness of a general contractor by following a few easy steps. Be sure to ask for references and give those past clients a call. Ask them whether the contractor stayed in touch and how often.

It’s a good idea to check with the local Better Business Bureau as well. This organization records customer disputes and the contractor’s response, allowing you to check their track record in just a few minutes. Find out whether the contractor is involved in any local construction associations as well.

Responsive Virginia general contractors will make your home improvement project run smoothly. You’ll still need to compare price, experience and relational skills, but the contractor’s level of responsiveness is important to your level of satisfaction with the renovation.

Should You Use Engineered Wood for Your Northern Virginia Siding Project?

Filed Under: Siding    by: Steve Kayhill
TruWood siding

TruWood siding

Replacing your Northern Virginia siding can be an expensive project. Many homeowners tackling this home improvement are looking for affordable options that deliver the same level of durability and visual appeal of traditional siding products. Engineered wood siding offers homeowners a familiar look and relatively good quality, but most people are initially attracted to the lower price.
Compared to traditional solid wood siding, engineered wood is more affordable. You’ll find many of the same patterns and styles across a wide range of manufacturers, including TruWood and SmartSide. But how does this man-made product stack up against the natural strength and durability found in traditional wood siding? Would you be better to make the switch to vinyl siding and enjoy a maintenance-free solution?

How Is Engineered Wood Siding Made?

Manufacturers combine wood by-products, such as sawdust, chips and flakes, with adhesive to make textured sheets of engineered wood siding in various styles. Both vertical and horizontal designs are available, and the appearance mimics wood species traditionally used for siding including cedar, pine and redwood.

Engineered wood siding goes up quickly, reducing the labor costs of your Northern Virginia siding project. It may or may not offer the same level of insulation that traditional wood does, but engineered wood can be easily installed over various insulation products.

Maintenance Specifications

Just like traditional wood, engineered wood siding will require a coat of paint or stain every five to ten years. It’s difficult to sand down and refinish, so be sure to choose a finish color and stick with that. Some brands come pre-finished from the factory, but that finish will fade and wear away with time. Repainting helps to extends the life of this product, as well as keeping the appearance fresh and clean.

The biggest issue with engineered wood siding is moisture. Because this product contains wood by-products that tend to absorb moisture, as well as adhesives that may breakdown in moisture, you may run into difficulty with excessive exposure. Paints and stains repel rain, snow and sleet, but if engineered wood siding is left in standing water it will deteriorate and create serious problems.

Proper installation remains the most important factor when choosing this type of siding. Ask your siding contractor whether they have dealt with engineered products before, and be sure their installation procedures follow the manufacturer’s direction. Hire a company that offers a solid warranty on the installation, as well as good warranty coverage on the product.

Engineered wood siding provides value for the money. Costs are similar to fiber cement board siding and vinyl siding products, but engineered wood offers a more rustic, traditional appeal. If you are longing for that look but cannot afford to invest in traditional wood, a high quality engineered siding product may be right for you. Be aware of the maintenance required and hire an experienced installer.

For a more solid product with a longer lifespan and less chance of damage, opt for solid wood siding or consider installing vinyl Northern Virginia siding. In any case, do your homework before making a final decision and you’re bound to be happier with the final product.

Tips on Setting the Fair Market Price For Your Washington DC Real Estate

Filed Under: Uncategorized    by: Steve Kayhill

washington_dc_real_estateSellers need to decide on a fair market price before putting their Washington DC real estate up for sale. This vital figure plays a major role in determining the quality of buyers, how quickly the house sells and the resulting profit. It takes time and thought to come up with a fair figure, and your Washington DC realtor should be there to offer valuable help.

Tip 1 – Look Around the Neighborhood

Check out the properties for sale on your street and in the surrounding neighborhood. Pay special attention to those that have sold, including how long they were on the market. Those statistics offer one of best gauges for setting the fair market price of your property.

You’ll want to position your property properly in the local market. Too high and buyers will bypass your home for that bungalow down the street; too low and you’ll lose out on potential profits. Ask your realtor to look into the features and specs of other properties up for sale, then compare yours to help decide where it stands against the competition.

Tip 2 -  Consider Your Own Schedule

If you have plenty of time to sell your home, you also have greater flexibility in terms of price. A home coming in at the bottom of the available price range will sell quickly, whereas overpriced homes may remain on the market for an extended period of time. Days on the market is not the only way to measure the price, but it does give you a good feel for the price expectations of buyers and agents.

On the other hand, if you have to sell your home fast that requirement should be reflected in the price. Knock a few thousand dollars off of the expected price and you’re more likely to close a quick deal. Remember to set your price with wiggle room, since you’re bound to come up against negotiation.

Tip 3 – Leave Emotion Out

Many sellers turn to emotion when setting the fair market price. Some people are very attached to their home, other couples are selling their home due to divorce or family emergencies. While it can be extremely difficult to eradicate emotion from this important event, strong feelings may cloud your reason.

No matter how much your emotion wants to get involved, leave it out. Let observation of the market and logic dictate the best selling price. Your financial needs should also be left out; buyers and agents are not concerned with clearing away your debt or creating a nest egg for your retirement.

It may hurt to hear it, but sentimental memories have no place in price assessments either. Maybe your son took his first steps across the living room floor or the family’s beloved goldfish is buried in the backyard. Those may be valuable memories for your family, but they have no bearing on the asking price.

Your realtor has the knowledge and information available to set the optimum fair market price for your Washington DC real estate. Make this process simple and straightforward and the entire transaction will run smoother.

Why Plan Early For Your Northern Virginia Deck?

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

northern-virginia-deckLarge home improvement projects take time to plan. You need to move from the dreams in your head to sketches on paper and then on to designing and troubleshooting with your contractor. But all of that effort is worth it when you get to see the finished product – a Northern Virginia deck that suits your tastes and yard perfectly. Think about the many advantages to planning your deck project early.

Coming Up With the Best Deck Design

Not all decks are created equal. And not all come in a simple shape, with room for your BBQ and a patio table. The best deck designs are built to accommodate your family’s hobbies and lifestyle, as well as the lay of your property. Grading issues, the location of trees and gardens and various other factors need to be considered when designing your deck in order to ensure the area fits well into the space.

You may want to make a few sketches of various deck designs. Be sure to include the house walls in the sketch, along with any permanent fixtures including trees, sheds, driveways and walkways. Some things can be moved if necessary, but it’s best to start designing with those fixtures in mind. Experiment with different shapes and designs, put in multiple layers and think about the various types of railings available. When you begin this stage early, there’s plenty of time to play around before deciding on a final design.

Getting the Best Prices

Taking the time to plan your Northern Virginia deck project will help you secure the best prices as well. Not only will you be able to shop the project around and compare contractor rates, but you can also take advantage of pre-season rates. Many contractors offer early booking programs to help them get their season off to a strong start. You should always hire the best contractor for the job, despite the price, but you stand a better chance at nabbing these discounts by planning ahead.

Many product introductions also occur in the early spring, just in time for the backyard season. Check out what’s newly available; you may just find something that is perfect for your home or lifestyle. New composite decking products pop up almost every year, as well as fastening systems, railing designs and deck accessories. Ask your local contractors what’s appearing in their showrooms or browse the web to get a look at new and innovative products entering the deck industry this year. You may find a deal or be eligible for an introductory price.

Starting the Season Right

One of the biggest advantages to planning your deck early is the jump you’ll get on the season. Early planners are usually one of the first projects in the ground come springtime, providing more days of enjoyment on your new deck. If you’re coordinating the decking project with a new pool, fence or hot tub, scheduling can get a bit tricky. But planning ahead and keeping all of the various contractors up to date will ensure your backyard is ready to play around in as early as possible.

Make sure your Northern Virginia deck is built using the best design by planning early. Get a better price and start the season with a bang by starting the process long before installation. Time is on your side, and thoughtful planning will help you create that relaxing, cozy backyard space.