Turning Virginia Basements into Winter Hideaways

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

winter-remodeling-virginia-basementThe winter is probably the last time of year that you want a general contractor stomping through your home to create the latest masterpiece, but surely there is some kind of indoors project that industrious homeowners can tackle themselves? This is where many homeowners can get much needed mileage out of their Virginia basements, both for a project to undertake and floor space to earn. If you are lacking indoor square footage of living space, you can get some great results in the basement with a little work.

Heart and Hearth

Often the basement is one of the coldest places in the house, but this can be counteracted in a few ways. If you are unable to finish the walls, hanging tapestries and other warm decorations can help keep the heat in a room. Another great idea that can instantly create more warmth in any part of the house is by adding a fireplace. This decorative piece adds value to the home and direct heat to the room.

A Little Cosmetic

If your walls are finished, it never hurts to go over them with another coat of paint. This acts like a facelift for every room you paint, and can make old spaces seem new again. In the basement you can try color combinations that you would never think of using for upper floor areas for a few reasons, one the lighting in the basement will likely call for bold color choices, and two less people will see these spaces, so there is a little more freedom to be creative.

What Lies Beneath

Cold feet are a big mood killer, and concrete basement floors are typically the coldest in the house. You can alleviate this problem with insulated or even heated subflooring. The best part about subflooring is that it is invisible to the finished product because your flooring completely covers anything ugly. The fact is that living with the 3% of a home’s energy going down out of your house is simply wasteful, which is why you should have subflooring installed by a licensed general contractor.

Let the Light Shine In

Being underground, it can be virtually impossible to get high volumes of natural light into a basement. This gloom combined with the colder nature of the basement can make it a very foreboding space. If you are unable to bring in sufficient quantities of natural light, then it becomes practically impetrative to install large amounts of electric lighting. With the right combinations of lighting solutions, you can make sure that every corner of your basement is well lit.

What it boils down to is that if you haven’t taken the steps to make your Virginia basement a usable living space, and you are dying to take on some kind of project, there are lots of things that you can do in the basement, with or without the help of a general contractor.

Proper Maintenance on Your Virginia Roofing

Filed Under: Roofing    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-roofing-ice-damThere is no season that takes its toll on the exterior of your home like the winter. In the case of your Virginia roofing, you are going to want to make sure that it is in good shape before the dead of winter comes and you find that the snow is making its way into your living space. The ounce of prevention that it takes to make sure that your roofing is in good shape will save you a lot in the long run when your roof is in good shape all year long.

The most common sign that people recognize as a clear indication that their roof has failed is a drip. This little leak might not seem like a big deal at first, but it is simply the first in a long series of problems that a poorly maintained roof will eventually begin to show. The most frequent causes of these leaks are cracks in the flashing around the chimney and vents, missing or old shingles that are past their life, or condensation that forms from improper attic ventilation.

Ice Damming: Winter’s Revenge on Your Virginia Roofing

An ice dam forms at the bottom of your roofline and in your gutters. The situation occurs when there is inadequate ventilation or insulation in your attic. When the warmth from your home melts the under layer of snow on your roof, it will begin to run down the slanted sides of your roof. When it reaches the bottom, there is typically much less heat there and the water refreezes forming a blockage of solid ice. From the ground, this is most notably seen as icicles which can be very pretty, but they also mean that you are having a big problem upstairs.

When you call your general contractor about the problem, they might discover that there isn’t anything wrong with your Virginia roofing after all, simply poor insulation and ventilation in the attic spaces. The general contractor or inspector will able to spot certain telltale signs that will let them know where the problem is actually occurring and the best way to fix it for the long haul.

Eye on the Prize                                                                                                                                     

Once you know that your roof is in good shape, you should have it inspected regularly, at least once a year, for potential problems. In a way this will help you extend the life of your roof because gauging the actual usefulness of the roof in person is always better than a manufacturer’s best guess at the longevity of their work pieces. You never know when a roof is going to outperform these estimations, so instead of replacing your roof in fifteen years based on a manufacturer’s suggestion, you might be able to get almost double out of it with regular inspections.

Even if you had your roof replaced in the last few years, an inspection now is probably a good idea, to make sure that there is proper ventilation and insulation. The expense incurred is far less than the potential risk to your roof and home. Your Virginia roofing can make all of the difference in keeping your house your home, so make sure it is well protected.


Virginia Real Estate Advantages-Renting Investments

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

money-making-real-estateThe idea of owning real estate in Virginia for the expressed intention of renting the property out is a dream that many have, but achieving this success can be a bumpy road. Finding the right property isn’t enough, you have to prepare yourself for the challenges of being a landlord with education and practical knowledge. Becoming a landlord might seem like an audacious move, but more and more people are taking the leap every day.

Great Reasons to Invest in Real Estate

Look at it this way: with all of the homes in foreclosure, people are losing their homes and are going to eventually be on the streets. Their credit is in terrible shape and they aren’t making a lot of income because of the terrible job market. These people are still going to need places to live, places to raise their families. When you invest in Virginia real estate and turn it into a rental property, you benefit yourself with potential source of income, and you benefit your community by providing a home to someone who needs it.

For that matter, rental properties in our Northern Virginia region are always in demand because of our proximity to the Nation’s Capital and fine higher learning institutions. People from all over the country come to our region in search of opportunity, and those people need roofs over their heads, which you could provide if you invest in Virginia real estate.

No Time Like the Present

The fact is that a market like the one we are in now only comes along once in a lifetime, which is good in a lot of respects, but anyone who is in a position to invest now can make substantial profits in the long haul. It is just a matter of getting over that initial financing hump and finding good tenants to take care with your property while you allow them to rent from you.

It would be ideal if you were able to pay cash for the properties that you purchase, but oftentimes this can be difficult to pull off. Getting financing might be tricky depending on your situation or the condition of the property. A private backer that will let you invest their capital for a portion of the returns is also another option.

Competitive Pricing

If you do have to get a mortgage on the home, then pricing your rent is going to be a little more difficult. You should set the rent so that it covers the mortgage, but still comparable to the other rental properties in your area. If you find that your rent is too high to compete and still cover the mortgage, then some small scale investments into improvements to the property might be in order. People are more likely to pay for luxury, which means that the nicer your place looks the more you can potentially charge. It may seem backwards to throw money at a money problem, but real estate investors know that sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

If you are interested in the great State of Virginia or Washington DC and want to make it the place of your housing business, you should talk to Virginia real estate agents about the investment opportunities and rental rates in your favorite area.

More Information About Virginia General Contractors

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractor_4With all of the access to information these days via the internet and other communications networks, there is still a surprising amount of ignorance regarding exactly what it is that a general contractor is supposed to do/know for private residential customers. In essence, the general contractor is responsible for establishing agreements with the developers (usually the homeowners in residential situations) for the development (new construction), renovation (also called remodeling) and demolition. A lot of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the average Virginia general contractor.

What General Contactors Need to Know

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the contractor is familiar with all of the areas that they deal with, however. On the contrary, the general contractor’s main strength is finding the right person for the job that needs to be done. Being a full service general contractor means that you know where to find the best plumbers, electricians, or cement mixers, or anything that a home might need done.

A Virginia general contractor has to coordinate the efforts of multiple teams on jobs that are particularly large, complicated, or on a time crunch. That means that it takes good strong managerial skills to keep everyone working together, and you also have to be good at keeping schedules to ensure that the work is done in the right order and at the right times.

As the primary coordinator, the general contractor is also responsible for making sure the subcontractors get paid. They are also in charge of the supply chain, in regards of finding out what the other contractors need to accomplish their goals and finding the best place to acquire the necessary materials.

For these reasons, a good Virginia general contractor has to be a “jack-of-all trades”, a person who is familiar with every aspect of design, construction, and repair, but really a master at none. Well-rounded is an understatement. A general contractor also has to maintain a lot of industry contacts and “keep an ear to the ground” so to speak about where the best places to get the best prices on one material or service over another.

Searching For Your General Contractor

When you need a general contractor, you have to trust them to know what they are doing and that they can get the job done. For people who want to have a lot of work done, a general contractor can help keep the job organized and on schedule. The best way to get a contractor that you trust is to set up a little interview process for yourself, so that you know you are asking the right questions, and getting the answers you need.
For your home projects, you want the very best at a reasonable price. That is the American way after all, and you should have to settle for anything less. If you live in Virginia, a General Contractor that can help you with any project that you might need is only a click away.