Home Renovation – Increase Your Profit Using Value Engineering

The concept of value engineering in renovation has never been more essential than it is today. At the start of 2009 we can still hear all sort of commotion about slow economy and troubles in the real estate market. All this should awaken renovators who are planning to increase the value of their homes, that a small miss-calculation or an over-renovation could easily destroy their profit or worse result in a complete loss.

Let me be clear, slow economy and slow real estate market does not mean that you can not remodel your home to increase its value. What it means is that you need to know what to renovate and how much to renovate in order to turn a good profit. At first sight this may seem simple; however, there is more involved than a simple question from your local renovator. To fully maximize your profit you need to understand value engineering in regard to home renovation.

Simply put value engineering in respect to home renovation is the process by which you analyze to determine what renovations will bring in the most profit for your home. Here we are going to quickly discuss the steps that must be taken to determine how to maximize your profit.

1) The first step in this process is to determine the market value of your home as well as market value of renovated homes similar to your home in your area. This is done to find out whether there is any room to profit. If the price for your un-renovated home is close to the price of a renovated similar home nearby, renovation could be a waste of time and money.

Remember, the key words are “similar homes” and “in your area”. There is no point comparing your home that is built on a 20 x 100 parcel of land to a home built on a 5 acre land as you are not able to stretch the size of your land. Also the comparables that you choose must be near your home, preferably on the same street or just few homes down the road from your home. You can obtain market value of these renovated homes from your local real estate office or from a qualified appraiser.

2) The second step is to determine how much value each renovation adds to your home. This information can be obtained from your local real estate office or a qualified appraiser. Real estate salespersons and appraisers for most part use a process called CMA (comparable market analysis) to determine your home value. In short the appraiser looks at similar properties sold recently near your home.

Using his/her extensive database, the appraiser is able to adjust the price based on the condition of various areas of your home as well as any new additions. For example the database indicates that an additional second bathroom in your area increases home value by $8000, updated kitchen increase value by $6000, Second garage does not impact the value and etc. This is how your local real estate salesperson is able to price out your home.

3) The third step is to determine the cost for each renovation. Make sure to get price estimate from at least three qualified contractors

4) The final step is to analyze your findings in step 2 and step 3 to determine what renovation(s) will yield the most profit.

Last Minute Moving Packing Tips for Home Relocation

Things happen quite fastidiously at the last moment. Fact is that when you shift, there will always be certain things left to be taken care of. These things often come up at the Nth moment and those who are unprepared, will be left scampering for cover. Why not avoid and be ready for those last minute glitches? The shifting has to happen, and you cannot develop cold feet at any cost. Knowing some last minute moving packing tips will definitely serve you well.

* Keep a few extra cartons ready with you. When most of the goods are carried away safely wrapped and packed in huge boxes, you might run into some paraphernalia that was not noticed. So what you can do is quickly have that packed into those spare cartons and duck tape them. These paraphernalia will be those items that do not catch your eye when you are in the midst of action and having things moved out real fast. They are articles and items that are silently lying behind the drawer and only become visible when you have the whole cabinet moved out. Bottom line: The cartons come handy and help you with these last minute shake ups. Service providers catering with moving services always do this.

* Make sure you have a vacant vehicle available at your disposal. The thing with last minute packing is that once all the vehicles are loaded and gone, you are left with no mode of transportation to shift the articles left behind. Rather than hiring one and paying extra, ensure you have a spare vehicle at your disposal for easy commuting. You can quickly load everything in it and rush off to your new home. They say this is one of those great packing tips.

* Service providers providing moving services and free moving quotations are always quite pro active in propagating the thought of having a few personnel around. In case if something very heavy gets left behind, then the shifter might find it exceptionally difficult in having that item picked up and having it moved. With people at your disposal, you can always summon them to have that last-minute item picked up, have it kept in the vehicle and then drive around to the site where it has to be unloaded and taken.

* Ensure you have the positions verified at your new place where each item will be placed. Keeping a blueprint of the same in hand pays well. What happens is, the moving services provider will simply come and start unloading. It takes a herculean effort afterwards to position things properly so that the new place looks in order. Instead of going through that ordeal, it would be wiser to ensure that you start off well and get things in perspective in the first place. This is one of the best moving packing tips, as a blueprint of something like this can always be placed in the hands of the moving services provider making free moving quotation.

Home relocation can be quite a taxing process if you do not get your act together. There are a lot of things that have to be dealt with till your current place is actually vacated and you are ready to roll. You need to be constantly on your toes so that you never goof up. The tips will ensure you relocate from one place to the other with thorough effortlessness. You will have the time of your life seeing to it that your things are moved around quickly and without much endeavor going into the whole ordeal.

Step-By-Step Instructions of a Kitchen

The kitchen is the workshop of the homemaker. In the average household, she spends the equivalent of 3 full months a year – 24 hours a day around the clock – in preparing, cooking and serving food, baking cakes and pies, and washing pots and pans.

Modernizing a kitchen to make it more enjoyable to work in, to add extra conveniences and time-savers is the ideal of every homemaker. The kitchen is a room that calls for a large outlay of money, but once it is wisely built, you’ll be happy you made the investment.

Until a few years ago, modernizing a kitchen meant purchasing a new refrigerator, range, a combination sink and painting the kitchen in a bright, shiny white. We have come a long way in only a few years. The most striking aspect of the contemporary kitchen is its color. White has been displaced by more sophisticated colors. Counter space has been increased. Storage has been engineered to provide maximum use of all available space. Everything is within easy reach. Today’s kitchen blends into the home. It is not a room apart, but a part of the home’s living area.

Appliances in the kitchen have gone contemporary! Everything has been redesigned to make life-in-the-kitchen easier and more efficient. Exhaust fans under colorful hoods over the kitchen range remove the grime and dirt as well as unpleasant smoke and cooking odors. In the more modern kitchen, the old range-oven combination has been dis-placed by counter-top ranges and built-in ovens. Automatic devices practically make the kitchen run itself.

The refrigerator has a new companion in the kitchen. While combination refrigerator-freezers are very popular, many homemakers prefer having an upright freezer in addition to the refrigerator in the kitchen. The white look is passing on. Appliances in attractive colors are gaining in popularity. Models have been introduced where fabric can be added over the appliance door, so that the refrigerator can match the kitchen curtains.

Built-in Kitchen Closet

The traditional kitchen has many base and wall cabinets; after the refrigerator, sink and range have been set into place, there is practically no unbroken wall area left. Here is an unusual treatment of a kitchen. This “all-in-one” kitchen closet is one of the best ways of storing kitchen utensils, groceries and cleaning equipment. When it’s time to prepare a meal, the doors are opened and everything needed is within easy reach. After the meal, the doors are closed and one end of the room becomes a delightful picture wall. The colorfully decorated doors add a pleasant note to the kitchen area, far different from the pantry entrance found in many older homes.

If you are artistically inclined, you can paint your own attractive door. However, if you feel out of place in a painter’s smock, you can buy attractive murals in the form of wallpaper and apply these to the door. You can also buy murals in outline form, glue them to the doors, and then paint them yourself following the instructions.

This pantry wall is designed for greatest efficiency. Notice the effective use of hooks to hang utensils and pans. Note, too, the way the lids are stored in the lower part of the door on the right. These are ideas you can borrow and put to use in your existing kitchen.

Even if you don’t have space inside of a wall, you can add a wall storage unit to your existing wall. Two doors, made of %” plywood with 1×6 or 1×8 “frame” pieces, can be hinged to a wall. Shelves, perforated hardboard and other kitchen convenience racks can be combined to provide ample additional storage. If you cannot use the entire wall, use only part.

On the following pages you will find many more ideas for getting the most out of existing storage space; you’ll find extras for the wall.

Basic Layouts of a Kitchen

The efficient kitchen has adequate storage, ample counter space and is arranged to save the home-maker unnecessary steps. While the size and location of the kitchen often determines the layout, you can generally make modifications to produce more efficiency.

The layout of the kitchen is determined by the arrangement of the appliances and cabinets within the room. All the units can be set against one wall, or two walls or three. Here are four different layouts commonly found in homes:

The single wall with the sink in the center and the range and refrigerator on either end with cabinets in between and overhead.

The two-wall kitchen where appliances and cabinets are placed on two opposite walls in the room.

The L-shaped kitchen where appliances and cabinets are placed on two adjacent walls.

The U-shaped kitchen where three walls are used for the necessary equipment of the kitchen.

Manufacturers have spent considerable sums and engineers numerous hours in planning the positioning of the different appliances – the range, sink and refrigerator – in the kitchen. You will find many different arrangements within this section. If you need additional help, many of the appliance producers have literature designed to assist you in this phase of kitchen planning.

Remember that the kitchen is engineered for work but has to look attractive as well. Combining these two factors is an art, and when you consider that you have to add work counter space and cabinets for storage, you can readily see that planning based on experience is essential. The homemaker, herself, is often a source of many good ideas. After all, she is the one who will have to “live” in the kitchen!

Layout and Open Living

With the contemporary trend toward making the kitchen part of the family living area, modifications are often necessary in the traditional layout of the kitchen. The basic shapes – one-wall, L-shaped, U- shaped, two-wall – still remain. However, the walls in many contemporary kitchens aren’t there. The rear of the kitchen cabinets forms the front of storage units in the adjoining room.

Without the floor-to-ceiling walls in the kitchen, where can the cabinets be hung? The basic problem in most kitchens is inadequate cabinet space. What can be done?
If floor space is available, additional base cabinets can be included to compensate for the loss of wall cabinets. On the other hand, these cabinets can be hung from the ceiling and a space between the bottom of the cabinets and the top of the base cabinets can be left open, and used as a work area. Another technique is to open only part of the wall for the “open look.”

While the open kitchen is exceedingly popular, there are many homemakers who still prefer privacy for their kitchens. When guests are present, what can be done with kitchen clutter? Nothing looks less inviting than a pile of dirty dishes and pots and pans left about; it certainly is not a pleasant setting for dining. However, you can do something about it.

It the homemaker cleans up and puts things away as she goes along, there is less likelihood of having clutter about. But there is also less likelihood that she will ever get out of the kitchen, let alone get the dinner ready.

Of course, she can use stove-to-table ware to cut down the need for extra pots. This not only removes unnecessary pots and pans but reduces cleanup time later. She can also use.some of the attractive tableware that goes from the refrigerator directly to the table.

If you put the lights out, you won’t see it! Well, that technique can be used here too! It’s not necessary to put out all the lights, but if you dim the kitchen and spotlight the dining area, the clutter will be “hidden” in the dark.

You can also hide the clutter by using a vertical blind on a track attached to the ceiling or a bamboo shade that is lowered when you wish to conceal the state of the kitchen. Drapery can be used in place of the blind but make certain that it’s not near the range.

Understanding Kitchen Plans

If you are buying a new house or having a contractor do the major and basic modernization of your kitchen, you will undoubtedly be confronted by blueprints. Here are a few of the symbols you will find used in these plans.

When building a new home or modernizing a kitchen, make provisions for convenient and adequate wiring. There are many kitchen appliances and even if you do not include them all at this time, you might want to add some in the future. Make sure your electrical circuits can take the load.

How Much Space?

How big should your kitchen be? There are many homemakers who prefer large kitchens while others prefer small ones. The table below gives the average size kitchens recommended for different size families. Included in this table is information on the floor size, wall and base cabinet storage and size of refrigerator. Remember, these are only guides for average families. If your homemaker likes lots of elbow room, better use these figures as a minimum.

Later in this section you will find numerous space savers for the kitchen. One way of getting more out of your kitchen is to use the walls. You can also use compact appliances that blend right into the room.

Maybe you like a dining area as part of the kitchen a dinette, for example. How much space you leave for dining depends upon the accommodations you prefer. Some families like to have a snack bar in the kitchen for a light breakfast or meal and have their regular meals in the dining room.

When modernizing your kitchen or planning one in a new home, it is best to recognize that certain clearances must be left unless you want some member of your family or a dinner guest to pop up and down every time someone has to pass by. You should allow for at least 42″ from the front end of the chair to the wall behind. This makes it easy to get in and out of the chair and to pass behind the chair while someone is sitting in it.

However, if you have a cabinet behind the chair, you should add the door width to this basic 42″ figure so that the cabinet can be opened and closed easily. This extra room is not needed if you install sliding door cabinets.

Where there is no chair, at least 24″ should be planned for between the end of the table and a wall. This permits the server to pass through conveniently.

On the accompanying page are several suggested room layouts. Examine these to see which fits your needs best and then modify it to meet your exact requirements. These plans apply not only for the kitchen or dinette but for the dining room as well.

The dining area must be provided with proper lighting and convenient electrical outlets. It is best to make provisions for shelves or storage cabinets for the toaster, electric coffee maker, electric frying pan and other modern electrical conveniences for the kitchen.

Dining area lighting should be functional and decorative. Increasingly popular are two forms of lighting for the dining area. One is the retractable reel light fixture which moves up and down above the center of the table. The other is a recessed spotlight above the dining table. Particularly effective is a light-dimmer; this unit controls the brightness of the light. With a unit such as this, you can duplicate theatrical lighting for gracious dining.

Kitchen Cabinets – Planning a Makeover?

Considering remodeling your kitchen cabinets or layout in the near future? Depending on what’s needed and what you decide to do, re-designing your kitchen can be one of the biggest home improvement projects most owner-occupiers will do. I’m not just referring to kitchen DIY, where you might make a few additions or replacements to personalize the design with a few decorative kitchen tiles, or add convenience items such as a kitchen towel dispenser or kitchen cabinet organizers. (Although it’s amazing how easy it can be to give your kitchen cabinets and doors a new look with new pulls and knobs!).

Let’s consider what you should include in your kitchen plans…

To make it easier to remember, I’ll group topics under 3 main headings – facilities, space, and design. We’ll wrap up with a few comments about the practicalities of “making it happen”. Thinking through each of these will help make sure you develop a complete specification, and therefore a comprehensive remodel kitchen cost. Here we go…

Facilities

What do you need to include within the kitchen? That’ll depend on what you want from your kitchen.

For example, is you kitchen to be used only for food preparation and serving?
Then the minimum for most family kitchens would be:

  • cooker
  • hob
  • sink
  • refrigerator
  • table or countertops
  • storage for food and cooking ingredients
  • storage for cooking utensils such as pots, pans, casseroles, etc
  • storage for kitchen cutlery
  • garbage container(s)

Other common items to remember:

  • dishwasher
  • freezer
  • microwave oven
  • kettle
  • tea or coffee maker
  • drinks dispenser
  • toaster

What about family dining? Will that usually take place in the kitchen?

  • dining table and chairs
  • storage for dining crockery & cutlery

Does your home have a separate laundry or utility room? If not, you’ll need to plan space for items such as

  • washing machine
  • tumble dryer, or other means of clothes drying

Space

Once you’ve listed all the essential appliances and convenience items you want to have in your kitchen, the next step is to check that there is enough floor space available for them all. Remember too – unless you are planning to do major re-building work, you’ll need to accept a few “givens”, such as:

  • sink position is limited by location of water supply and drains plumbing, and probably windows
  • same with dishwasher or clothes washing machine
  • cooker & hob positions are limited by gas and/or electricity supply connections and controls

You’ll see a repeated theme in the list above – “storage” – for all sorts of items from food to cleaning materials. That’s why kitchen storage cabinets play such a large part in the space allocation and costs. In fact, the largest component of cost in most kitchen re-design projects is the cost of kitchen cabinets and countertops, especially if you’ve chosen granite countertops.

Without already having good experience in kitchen cabinet design, you’d be well advised to select a local kitchen contractor, or at least visit a reputable kitchen showroom to get ideas on how best to use the available space, and develop practical ideas for possible kitchen floor plans.

Design

Along with developing potential floor plans, now is the time to bring the overall design of your kitchen together. What styles do you prefer – that would complement your home? Something contemporary – crisp, clean lines, bright and airy, maybe lots of shiny metal? Or would a warmer, natural or stained wood grain suit better – for example an elegant French kitchen, or perhaps a simpler, country style kitchen?

At this stage you should consider all aspects of your kitchen – materials, colors, texture and styles to make sure you have a coherent look:

  • appliances – “white goods”, or built-in
  • cabinets
  • countertops
  • floor covering
  • walls
  • lighting
  • ventilation
  • work flow

Making it Happen

The first question to ask (unless money is no object) is how much of your existing kitchen – appliances and cabinets – could be re-used, and still let you create your dream kitchen?

For example, if your cabinet frames are basically sound, and the existing floor layout is good for you, then you could avoid spending far more than necessary by simply refinishing kitchen cabinets, floors, walls, replacing aging appliances, and fitting contemporary kitchen light fixtures.

At the other end of the cost (and disruption) scale, you could have an expert cabinet maker building kitchen cabinets, fully customized to your design and style preferences, with brand new integrated appliances throughout, decorative kitchen tiles for the floor, and personalized picture kitchen backsplash designs on the walls. There would also be a modern kitchen island design featured in the center, and an elegant family dining space of course.

For many of us however, there will be trade-offs we need to make to get as close as possible to our ideal kitchen, while keeping within the bounds of affordability.

If this is your case, you could consider several lower cost approaches to kitchen construction, and especially cabinet installation:

  • factory-built cabinets – can be installed by a kitchen fitter (not as highly skilled as a cabinet maker)
  • flat-pack, or ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets – can be DIY installed, or by a kitchen fitter
  • refacing your existing cabinet doors and drawers – specialist task, but probably less costly than rebuilding all your kitchen storage cabinets.

But what if you’ve completed your dream kitchen specification, developed a practical layout design, selected your style preference, and chosen the best value installation approach, and its still way over your budget?

Then you’ve probably only 3 options:

  • Phase it – split the project into a series of sub-projects, and complete each as they are affordable
  • Finance it – take a loan to finance the project
  • Forget it – for now at least… postpone your plans until you can afford it.

Remodeling Your Kitchen, Some Ideas That Might Be Beneficial

Making the kitchen your first home improvement project is a great idea. Remodeling your kitchen is one of the best home investments you may make and is often the top priority when it comes to home improvement projects. The kitchen is the most crucial part of your house, so making this room appealing and agreeable to work in as well as practical can be imperative. Having a smooth running, well planned kitchen is crucial in getting the entire home to function effectively. Even if you just own a little kitchen, take care not to let this hamper your kitchen remodel project. When size is limited the organization of the kitchen ought to be most important.

The main directive when it comes down to how to put into action your kitchen modernizing ideas is to have your budget in clear view at all times and stick to it. Remodeling your kitchen on a tight budget will be tricky but you need to instruct yourself to turn down any ideas that will bust your budget and search around for affordable substitutes.

When you are upgrading your kitchen, you may need to understand how to work out in what order to bring about the changes. Equally, as it may be awkward to carry out kitchen upgrading all at the same time, you have to prioritize the alterations that are most important to you. If the main thing you really want is extra cabinet storage space, then set aside money for new kitchen cabinets instead of spending on a new copper sink. Discovering how to upgrade the kitchen without wanton spending necessitates that you prioritize the elements in your kitchen that will need to be refurbished.

Another central part of kitchen remodeling will be picking the correct lighting, from general light fittings for kitchens to light fittings for kitchen islands.

When your kitchen has a high ceiling then a single ceiling lighting fixture may possibly not be enough to illuminate the whole room. Think about special types of lighting arrangement for different parts of the kitchen such as; under shelf lighting, pendants, chandeliers, semi-flush lighting, or recessed lighting if you can afford to have that done.

Granite is rapidly becoming one of the most well-liked constituents for kitchen counters. Whatever your individual style, there should be a granite color absolutely suitable for you and your interior. With a lot of assorted eye-catching colors to pick from you will most likely have lots of choices in deciding on the wonderful granite countertops for your upgraded kitchen.

An added well-liked favorite used for kitchen remodeling are concrete counters. Today you will be able to find out in online stores why concrete counters are very sought after. They can be made in virtually any design, including rounded which is something that may not be done easily with natural granite. See how you can make the versatility work for your upgraded kitchen plus what color options are now available. There will be different kinds of coloring additives, stains, and concrete variations, so concrete counters will forever be unique. Concrete is friendly to the environment in every part of its life span, making it a foremost choice for environmentally friendly kitchens.

When kitchen remodeling, your kitchen sink is almost always replaced. If you would prefer a up to date, retro, or country style kitchen, there are now a lot of kitchen sink designs to decide from. There are a significant variety of kitchen sink styles which as well are presented in a variety of materials which are in turn offered in a large array of colors, shapes, and sizes. When you have decided on the kitchen sink you would like, you then will need to decide on a faucet.

Kitchen faucets were formerly a clear-cut essential. But today you will be able to have faucets to complement any kind of kitchen in a assortment of configurations and finishes. There are new designs and new technology that can help your upgraded kitchen to a much more user friendly space.

Use the web to help you discover which style of faucet would match your upgraded kitchen the best. In addition to your principal kitchen faucet, you may also like to incorporate an entertainment sink faucet for an extra water source on a kitchen island, a pot filler kitchen faucet or a water filtration faucet to make sure that you will be supplied with pure and the safest water.

One eye-catching highlight you can add to your modernized kitchen is a copper sink. You will be able to choose from a expansive variety of copper kitchen sinks in purpose made styles and shapes, copper country style kitchen sinks, hammered copper sinks, double bowl copper kitchen sinks, and others. You may be certain that if you get a copper kitchen sink it will bring a talking point into your kitchen and everybody will love it.

Kitchen tiles for backsplash and walls were a long time ago common old dull white ceramic. But today you will be able to acquire tiles for your refurbished kitchen in a massive assortment of finishes, colors, shapes and sizes. Glass in a variety of sizes from big sheets to tiny mosaic pieces can be used with splendid effect within a kitchen. Glass could even be cast to look like marble tiles and using recycled glass in your remodeled kitchen can be an environmentally friendly preference.

Refacing your kitchen cabinets will most likely be a easier alternative to a total kitchen upgrade. Does your kitchen need modernizing? If so, think about cabinet refacing as a replacement for the expense of buying and installing brand new ones. If your hardware is tatty after cleaning, you might want to replace it. Today is a good opportunity to give your cabinets a total modernization. There will be many beautiful handles plus hinges offered at your local home improvement stores or in online stores.

The least costly way in which to upgrade to a fresh look for dark and unloved wooden kitchen cabinets is to paint them. Ensure the kind of paint you utilize should give a functional, washable surface.

When choosing new kitchen cabinet handles, select a design that should look spectacular in your upgraded kitchen. Should you live in a retro home, opt for brass or pewter. If your house is minimalist, go for hardware to match like glass, aluminum or novelty handles, allowing the kitchen cabinet handles to match your refurbished kitchen.

Using the huge quantity of online stores and kitchen design specialists, it is easy to explore the best brands of flooring materials for your kitchen. If you know what brands of floor covering are offered you can decide whether you intend your upgraded kitchen floor to be of cork, vinyl, travertine or limestone. Should you prefer to become environmentally friendly, then you might be thinking of bamboo.