Remodeling or Building on Cape Cod and Need to Choose a Builder?

December 6th, 2014

Have you always wanted to make some changes in your home but didn’t know where to start?
Most people don’t realize how much is possible in the areas of building and renovating and would be amazed at what a good Builder can do! Whether it’s creating your dream master suite, upgrading your kitchen with granite counters and new appliances, or adding a room over your garage. How about a new deck, or turning your deck into a four-season sun room for extra living space? Perhaps you are buying an older home that needs work. Nearly anything is possible these days in the area of building and renovating.

Your biggest decision is your first one: find a reputable, experienced Builder to assist you from start to finish. Ask for references, and check them out. Talk to people who worked with that Builder five, ten, fifteen years ago. Do they still have a good relationship? Do they still recommend that Builder? Did the Builder stay on budget and on the timeline? Visit properties that the Builder has completed. There are some big building companies around with a marketing department that creates beautiful ads and slick marketing materials. They charge premium rates, but that does not mean they are the best. Some of the most talented Builders around are the ones who DON’T advertise or own a fancy fleet of trucks. They have been here steadily working and serving the community before the Cape became as popular as it is today. (Before off-Cape Architects and building companies arrived to cash in.) These guys are HANDS-ON Builders. They don’t assign you to a “Project Manager”, they are on-the-job every day and are there for you from start to finish. Without the overhead of a large fleet of trucks, a marketing department and many Project Managers, you will also save money.

If you prefer to start with an Architect, do not use an Architect that requires you to use one particular Builder. You want the option of finding the best Builder who is the best match for YOU and your project. Likewise, a Builder should be able to recommend different Architects depending on your particular project requirements.

Make sure the Builder has the proper insurance, and hires only professional insured sub-contractors. The Government has gotten VERY tough and most of these guys face TWO audits annually. They have to pay huge insurance premiums just to stay in business. Please do not support those who take shortcuts. It is just not fair to the others who are doing it the right way, and you are hurting Cape Cod small businesses. The bottom line is this: you get what you pay for. In life, and especially in the trades.

You don’t have to wait any longer to make the changes that you’ve always dreamed about or to build your dream home, choosing the right Builder for your project is the all-important first step.

What Happens if you Skip Installing a Chimney Cap?

November 26th, 2014

Home inspectors always point out that “a chimney cap is a good idea, although it’s not required”. Like most people, I KNOW it’s important but it probably doesn’t seem like a huge deal when it comes to prioritizing what to spend money on. Especially if it’s a vacation home or part-time residence. Well, I recently learned first-hand why having a chimney cap really IS a good idea!

I walked into a house recently and knew immediately that something was wrong when I saw the fireplace logs strewn in the middle of the living room. Vases and lamps were overturned and knocked off tables. Then I noticed large piles of wood shavings on all the windowsills and on the floor under each window. Upon closer examination, I found that the wooden sills of almost every window in the house had been chewed away. Some poor critter had fallen down the chimney and had been trying to chew its way out of the house.

I called Animal Control and we went through the entire house looking for what did the damage. We never found it, but the Animal Control officer decided it was a squirrel and not a raccoon. And that it had somehow climbed back UP the fireplace and went out the way it came in.

This creature had chewed nearly every window in every room of this house. The Owner now had to file an insurance claim to replace the windows at a cost of probably $500 per window. All of this could have been avoided by installing a chimney cap for $150.

If your house doesn’t have a chimney cap, it is a matter of time before this happens to you. Don’t delay any longer!

chewed window