Should you pay your contractor’s markup? (Yep.)

Contractors typically charge homeowners a 10-20% markup on their subcontractor’s (“subs” for short) work. If you think you might want to pay your contractor’s subs directly (like the plumber or electrician for example) to avoid your contractor’s markup, I want you to understand what you are getting and giving up by going that route.  

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EVER WONDER WHAT GOES INTO TAKING THOSE PHOTOS?

I decided to stray from my typical blog post topics to have photographer Ed Sozinho with Sozhinho Imagery out for an interview and find out what goes on behind the scenes. He shared his geeky/techy side with me, and if you have any interest in knowing the painstaking details that make up those fancy photos you love so much on Houzz, Pinterest, etc., NOW’S YOUR CHANCE TO LEARN!

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Books to help inspire, answer questions and more!

Below are books that I recommend for various reasons. Some are useful, some are entertaining, some are both, and one isn’t even about architecture! Check back periodically, as I will try to update this list as I find books I think you will find useful and enjoy.

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If You Agree With Everything Your Architect Does, You May Be Doing Something Wrong

I’m not claiming your architect is inevitably flawed, that she doesn’t have great ideas and that each design move isn’t intricately and brilliantly tied to the one before. What I am saying is, if you don’t have questions and comments (indicated by only saying things like, “I love it!” or, “That’s perfect!” after each meeting without follow-up questions and comments) then frankly, you may not be picking up on what they’re putting down.... 

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Yes, you can add a second story!

To some of you, this topic might sound a bit random when compared to the other broader topics in my blogs. I select the subject matter based on the number of times I’m asked a particular question. I have not only heard this one over and over, but the fact that so many people are asking if they can add a second story means they don’t understand the process in the first place. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

4 minute read time

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Construction budget bewildered? Start here... save thousands

Nailing down your approximate budget and priorities will save you thousands of dollars in the long run. What I’m NOT going to do is tell you how much a second story addition costs. What I AM going to do is give you a means of making some estimates based on average costs per square foot. If you want to know if your foundation can hold a second story, yes, you should call an architect. If you want to be able to discuss with your partner if you can afford even to CONTEMPLATE adding a second story, keep reading.

Read time 6 minutes

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How to select your contractor

HOW TO SELECT YOUR CONTRACTOR:

I’m sure you’ve found some random articles online like, “The 5 questions you need to ask contractors”, or “The 3 things you need to look out for when selecting a contractor”. If not, you should go find some, as there are millions of them, and most of them are helpful. I want to focus on something else here....

Read time: 4 minutes

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How To Select Your Architect

You always want to select short female architects who listen well, and have lots of advice of how to spend your millions of dollars. Kidding. Here are some REAL things you should consider.

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The Difference Between Building Permits

Nothing Says Fun Like Building Permits! Do you even need one? Unless you are building a fence, changing out your front door, or painting your house, you will need one of these two types of permits. However, I wouldn’t let the possibility of needing a full building permit deter you from doing the remodel that you want. 

read time 4 minutes

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You Must Learn To Read Architectural Drawings!

Your architectural drawings are your contract with your contractor. They are actually appropriately called Contract Documents. It is SO very important that you are able to read your drawings, but it isn’t easy to do! As a result, many home owners progress into the middle of their construction projects without fully understanding these important pieces of paper. Check these links out for more info!

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Clean out your crap before you bother modifying your home

Seriously, how do you know how much of what type of space you need if you have rooms and rooms full of crap that you don’t even like? Before I remodeled my home, I went through every single item and got rid of enough useless stuff to make the VIP list at my local Goodwill Store. You should too. 

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How to stay within your construction budget

You must plan for the unknown as inevitably there are surprises in every construction project. One of the few things all home owners commiserate about, regardless of whether they have been through a construction project or not, is the idea that projects always go over budget. Want to avoid this? Pick one: Higher contingency or higher architectural fees.

Read time: 5 minutes

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