Archives for May 2011

Chasin’ the storm, and finding problems.

As the early morning thunder and heavy rain put a end to my fishing plans for the day, I directed my attention to the morning issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and their article about the monumental amounts of contractors that have flooded north Minneapolis after the recent tornado.

Our industry is continually plagued by “leech-like” individuals that are only concerned about lining their pockets as quickly as possible and throwing the customer’s wishes, needs, and desires out the door.  It did not surprise me to read in the story about a contractor that was fined $2,000 and had its’ license temporarily revoked, another contractor that recently lost a District Court judgement to a supplier for almost $30,000 worth of unpaid materials, or the contractor facing a possible trial later this year for billing insurance companies for non-existent charges.

Companies like this prey on emotionally ravaged customers who simply want a quick fix to the disaster that has turned their lives upside down.  They employ questionable standards, and usually will not be totally forthcoming with the homeowner.  They talk of promises, guarantees, and warranties…..which typically are just “tail light” warranties.  (One that expires as the tail lights of their vehicle leave your driveway.)

In the moments after a natural tragedy, don’t make an emotional decision.  Companies that promise their paperwork is “just an authorization form to  speak to your insurance company” are actually having you endorse a contract for the repair of your home.  Time is on your side; use it wisely, and the recovery will be fine.

The real value.

After last week’s post about getting started with home improvements, I thought I would share with each of you a great “benchmark” for planning purposes.

Remodeling Magazine annually distributes the  Cost Vs. Value Report in which it provides homeowners with an estimate as to how much they can expect to recoup out of the remodeling project when they decide to sell the home.  (It is a very good guide to reference prior to starting a project.)

For example, data from the report shows that for a mid-ranged window replacement project in Minneapolis, MN  (10 vinyl windows, each 3′ x 5′, with exterior cladding, low e glass, and argon insulating gas), a homeowner to anticipate investing $11,113 with a recoup percentage of 61.8%.

Of course, you can remodel your home solely for your own enjoyment, without any thought as to the affect your investment may have on the selling price of your home.  But, if you’re considering tackling a project or two, it may be a wise decision to consult the cost vs. value report in Remodeling Magazine.

Just do it……

In 1988 one of the most recognizable slogans ever created was born.  Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign gave a breath of fresh air to a company that used the slogan to separate itself from rival Reebok, and in 2010, recorded 260 million dollars worth of web sales alone!

And how, you may ask, did that little tidbit of information make it into a blog on a general contractor’s website?  The answer is quite simple; the phrase, “Just Do It” can apply to many things in life, including home improvements.

The month of May is National Home Improvement month, and I am constantly asked the same question.  “Where do I start, What do I do first, and How do I plan?”  Home improvements can be an overwhelming task, if you allow them to control your life.

My simple answer to the above referenced question is to follow the Nike approach.  Just Do It…..start with painting a room, maybe add some new floor coverings, or dive right in with a roofing or siding project.  Whatever you do will benefit you greatly.  The biggest mistake I see customers make, is indecision.  They wait, and wait, and the thought of proceeding with a home improvement project becomes too massive and they do nothing.

Indecision will cost more in the long run.  Make it your goal to start a project this month….Just do it!

Larson Builders