Home Office

How to Create the Ideal, Functional Home Office, running a business from home is both exciting and cost-effective. A home office offers you great flexibility and comfort, but if it’s not created properly, you might sacrifice performance or maximum productivity for comfort. 

Hence, to ensure an ideal and functional home office, you must separate your work/business from the home environment. Here’s how you can do this.

 

1.    Identify the key factors 

There are factors to consider when creating a functional home office. These factors influence things such as the home office space, location, equipment, and so on. Answer these questions to identify the key factors;

·      What work activities will be carried out in the home office?

·      Will you receive visits from clients or colleagues?

·      What type of equipment is required?

·      What type of materials will be stored?

·      Will you make video or conference calls?

·      Do you often need to access files? 

·      Is it important for you to have peace and quiet?

·      How many hours will you spend daily in the office?

Home Office

2.    Decide on the location

After answering the questions above a lot of things become clearer. Now you can tell if your home office can be the guest room or a more secluded or open spot in the home. The location you choose should contribute to the efficiency of your workspace. It’s often better to choose somewhere with a door, ample space, and less foot traffic from others in the home. Ensure the space has good ventilation. Sometimes a remodeling project may be what you need to set up the perfect home office location, in such a situation we are here for you.

3.    Invest in equipment

Naturally, you can identify the equipment vital to your work or business. For your home office, purchase only the work equipment that you use frequently or daily. If perhaps you use a printer once in a week and not often, you could save up on space and cost by using one in the neighborhood public store.

 Ensure you invest in the best quality equipment that is highly responsive, fast, and efficient. Get a separate phone line for your business. A computer is almost indispensable to any business now, invest in a good user-friendly brand. Purchase materials in bulk to save time and money.

4.    Invest in ergonomic equipment

When you spend hours each day at a worktable, it can impact your health. Be sure to invest in an ergonomic work table, chairs, keyboards, and other equipment. The availability of several ergonomic designs makes it easy to choose what you need for your home office. Consider soft keyboard pads to rest your wrists, footrests, standing desks, and more.

5.    Layout

An office should never be too casual and should be organized to maximize performance. For your home office layout, start with painting the walls in vibrant and office suitable colors. Next, place everything in its place. Set your table and chair some distance against a wall with a clear view of the door or exit/entry route. Materials that you use often should be closest to you. Work inspiring décor, office suitable furniture, and proper lighting should be included too.

 When all these are in place, be sure to set some ground rules to complete your process of creating an ideal and functional home office. These include;

·      No noise/disturbance during work hours

·      Set work hours

·      Avoid clutter, dirt, and distractions in the office space.  

 

 

Should I Move or Remodel

 

Should I Move or Remodel? – The Ultimate Checklist, there are several reasons why the thoughts of moving or renovating your current home can come to mind. It could be that your family has grown, or you have developed a dislike for the current functionality or some areas of your home. It could also be you just want something refreshing. Whatever the reason, a clear fact is that deciding on either a move or a home remodeling can be daunting. Here are the factors to consider to help you make a valid decision.

  1. What’s your relationship status?

I don’t mean your relationship with a spouse or lover; I mean your relationship with the house. Some people have emotional attachments to where they live, especially if they have lived there for years or gone through some rough times in the home. With a factor like this in play, it’s hard and certainly not wise to move out unless other factors can outweigh this one.

Should I Move or Remodel

  1. What could either option cost?

Moving is not without a financial implication. No matter how you try to beat it, everyone always winds up with moving costs. Then there’s the issue of the costs of your new home. In most cases, you would be upgrading to a better home- how does the cost of maintenance, utility bills, and others compare against your current home. Moving might also mean selling your home and this comes with another set of costs such as realtor or agent commission, search costs, minor repairs to prep the home for sales, and more.

If you choose to stay in your old home and remodel, that is a large cost as well. You would pay professionals to assist you with the process, buy materials, and your budget comes into question. A possible benefit is that you can use a home equity loan to pay for the renovation.

  1. How convenient and timely are both options?

There’s hardly anything convenient about a home remodeling. There is going to be noise, dust, dirt, lack of privacy, and limited space with a home renovation. But it can’t be helped. The time this renovation would take depends on how much work you are doing. For example, if you are renovating a large part of your home, it would take more time than a simple kitchen renovation or bedroom remodel.

Moving usually includes time taken to sell your home or move, to find a new place. The inconvenience of moving only occurs when you are packing, moving, unpacking, and selling a home.

  1. What’s the compromise?

For a home remodeling, you might only be compromising on cost and convenience. You can rest assured of getting what you want. A move, however, can bring a few compromises here and there. Your perfect home might be in an area you don’t like. The home might lack some things you want but had to check off your list.

You can see there’s hardly a clear-cut answer. Your decision should be based on these factors and more to avoid any later regrets.

We hope Should I Move or Remodel? – The Ultimate Checklist helped you read more from Four Star Construction: HERE.

Common Myths about Home Remodeling

 

 

Common Myths about Home Remodeling, have you ever believed something because it seems to be common knowledge only to find out much later that everyone literally has the wrong idea? That’s how myths work, and in this age and time, there are myths about everything everywhere. This noise makes it hard to tell truth from lies and facts from myths. But today, we have got your back on debunking those myths about home remodeling. Yes, there are lots of surprises and new realizations waiting.

 

  • Home remodeling can be DIY

A home remodeling project can be on anything from adding an extra room to changing current rooms and so on. In most cases, it involves a series of professionals each expert in their field who contribute their part to completing the remodeling project. One would expect homeowners to be thrilled by this but it turns out they only get scared. Being able to DIY a remodeling project because it’s a cheaper option is a myth. Without the proper experience, skill, and time, you would end up spending much more than the initial cost of hiring professionals. Not to mention possible damages or accidents that might occur when you choose to renovate your home yourself.

 

  • All home remodeling projects add value to your home

The idea that remodeling your home today can help increase resale value tomorrow is probably the most popular opinion on home remodeling. While it’s not entirely wrong, the truth is this only one reason to remodel and most times, it does not apply. Remodeling should be about your comfort and current lifestyle. There’s no assurance that a potential buyer will find the changes attractive or worth higher value.

  • The lower the bid the better the value

Not every contractor is out to give you the best. It’s unfortunate yet true. Hence, just because your budget seems to resonate with the lowest bid doesn’t mean you should take that option. A contractor offering the lowest bid is cutting corners somewhere to make that bid work and this could be by using inferior materials or rushing the job. Always determine credibility and other factors, in addition, to bid before hiring.

 

  • Going green is expensive

In the long run, going green is always the cheaper option. Those seemingly expensive green products save lots of money as time goes by. Also, not all green products are expensive. Shop wisely but try not to cut corners. There are equally cost-free ways to go green that involve your daily activities.

 

  • Home renovations wreck your home and put you out of a home until its complete

It’s understandable why many homeowners believe they have to leave their home during a remodeling project. What you don’t know is, it’s hardly necessary. Home remodeling professionals are trained to work around occupants and they hardly need the entire house to themselves to work on just a section. A reputable company will discuss and agree on a schedule with you before starting.

Also, its true remodeling can get messy, but not so much. A reputable company will discuss any major disruptive concerns with you and clean up as they go.

 

Hope you enjoyed Common Myths about Home Remodeling, Read more from Four Star Construction: HERE.

 

what do general contractors do

 

 

What Do General Contractors Do? Are you planning a bedroom remodel? Or perhaps it’s the kitchen? Or are you building a home? Regardless of which of these or something similar you are planning to undertake construction is both complicated and time-consuming. Ideally, you would need a general contractor with the professional knowledge needed to complete your project smoothly and efficiently. It sounds easy, and it sounds obvious but still, many homeowners think they can skip hiring a general contractor and save a few bucks.

Unfortunately, this plan never goes as expected and homeowners end up spending, even more, when they finally have to hire a general contractor to correct their mistakes and carry on with the project. If you are not well-informed on what exactly general contractors do, read on to learn all about it. 

 

·      They bring knowledge to the table

Just because you can change a few light bulbs does not mean your knowledge or expertise on electricity can compare with a qualified electrician. The same goes for construction. A general contractor is a specialist with the knowledge needed for construction projects and as such they bring this unparalleled knowledge to the table.

A general contractor knows the work process. They know what needs to be done and when. This saves time, keeps the project going smoothly, and also saves money. Missing things can heap up unexpected expenses in the long run. 

General contractors are also well-informed on trades and they supervise the entire jobs done by subcontractors. They know the schedules and they keep your project on track. This particular point is so vital because there are several subcontractors on a project at one time. Depending on the scope of what you are doing, they could be up to 40. Imagine having to ensure each one of these 40 subs are on time and delivering what is needed? Imagine the risk of one or more subs missing their deadlines or scheduled time? This can impact everything negatively and slow things down. But of course, when a qualified general contractor is on the job, that won’t happen. 

A general contractor also has knowledge of building codes and employ this to ensure your work is up to standard. They are your way out of troublesome re-inspection fees. 

·      They are experienced with contracting details

You can surely agree that there is so much detail involved with the contracting process of subs. As a homeowner or property owner without the needed knowledge, how would you know the scope of this contract? What happens when changes come into the picture from your end or the subcontractor’s end? A general contractor saves you the trouble because they are experienced with contracting details. This just becomes something you never have to worry about when you hire a general contractor.

·      They keep valuable relationships

All professional general contractors have a thriving business relationship with builders and other subcontractors. This relationship makes it easier for you to get the best subcontractors on your project. And it also contributes to the efficiency of their work. 

Looking to ask questions or hire a professional general contractor? Reach out to us here

 

What to Ask a General Contractor

 

What to Ask a General Contractor

Asking the right questions cuts your work in half when searching for the right contractor for your project. It helps you make a better choice of who to work with as well as understand the scope of your project. It also ensures a smooth working relationship with the contractor you finally choose.

We have put together these vital questions you need to help you enjoy these benefits. Read on to find them.

  1. Are you licensed?

The right answer – YES

The question on the license is vital for many reasons. First, it gives you the guarantee that if the contractor does not perform a complete job you can hold them accountable with a licensing body. Some states also require contractors to have a license while some don’t. If your state requires a license, be sure to check a licensing agency in your state to confirm that the contractor’s license number is authentic.

  1. How long have you been working in this industry?

The right answer – A few years that present enough time to have over ten references that you can contact.

Experience can never be underestimated. While you do not need the contractor to have decades of experience to assure you of his expertise, a few years in the business comes with proof of a good or bad record. You can see reviews and reach out to the references to inquire about their experience.

  1. Do you have insurance for damages if they occur?

The right answer – YES

Quite simply you really do not what an uninsured contractor working in your home. The insurance is there to protect you from costs or responsibility should accidents occur or anything gets damaged during the construction process. Luckily such accidents or damages are rare but you cannot skip having an insured general contractor.

  1. Do you have a workman’s compensation insurance for your employees?

The right answer – YES

You do not want to be held responsible for the treatment of an employee who got injured while working on your project. This is not because you are unkind, but because you can’t shoulder such unexpected expenses like surgery for example. All professional general contractors carry this insurance.

  1. What is a realistic or estimated timeline for this project?

The right answer – A specific timeline that you would expect the contractor to work by.

Knowing how long the project takes is important to help you prepare for the project and find housing alternatives if necessary. It also helps you agree on milestones with the contractor so you know if your project is on track. You can hold the contractor to this estimate and avoid any surprises like the contractor taking off while the project is incomplete.

Transparency is important and a good general contractor can answer your questions easily and clearly. If the contractor seems to have a hard time doing this, then it is a red flag you might not want to ignore.

Check out other vital questions to ask your general contractor here.

 

 

 

Dealing with a Bad Contractor

 

Dealing with a bad contractor, remodeling your home or building a new one can be hectic. It’s hardly something you can handle on your own which leads many homeowners to hire a contractor. But what happens when the contractor takes your money and runs for it. Or does a sloppy job, delays your project, and much more horrible things? The good news is, there is something you can do about these situations and the bad news is you hardly come away without a form of loss.

Red flags to look out for when hiring a contractor

It is possible to avoid running into a bad contractor in the first place. It is much cheaper and easier than having to deal with a bad one later. Here are some red flags to look out for when hiring.

  • A contractor that solicits door to door

A good contractor is usually too busy to go from door to door soliciting jobs. A bad one, however, has the time. Some homeowners fall victim to hiring a contractor that showed up at their door and shaking hands on an agreement that was never signed. The result of this is that the contractor can do as they please and there’s no legal agreement to hold them by.

  • They bid lower than normal

As a rule of thumb, you should not go with the first contractor you see or the one with the lowest price. Be sure to compare up to three or even more contractor bids before deciding and be wary of those with a bid lower than normal. Another angle to this is contractors that claim they want to use your work for advertising purposes. Refuse such offers that seem to include cutting corners.

  • They don’t get the permits themselves

A professional contractor gets the necessary permits themselves. They do not put that responsibility on the homeowner. A contractor that requests you to do this is probably unlicensed or has a bad reputation.

  • The contractor wants to be paid the whole fee upfront

This is clearly a scam. You should only pay a small percentage of the total fee upfront.

How to deal with a bad contractor

  • Fire the contractor

This is the first and quickest way out. As soon as you notice the signs don’t allow your loss go any further. Fire the contractor immediately and end the contract. Use your documentation of the work agreement and their actions as your defense.

  • Hire an attorney

In case the contractor has escaped with your money or doesn’t finish the job, you can hire an attorney to pursue them. This will cost you the attorney’s fees and time but weigh your other options and decide.

  • File complaints and post public review

If you are unable to take solid legal action, you can always file complaints on review websites and leave a public negative review stating your experience.

  • Go to a small claims court

In a small claims court, you can do without an attorney. But there’s a limit that the plaintiff can sue for. Check for the limit before you proceed.

Let us know your experiences with dealing with a bad contractor

Read more from us HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Ways to Increase Your Home Value This Year

 

If you are like most homeowners, then you know and believe that your home is your biggest asset. Therefore, you can’t go wrong with increasing your home’s value. You can do it to build equity now or value to sell the home later. Despite what you might believe increasing your home’s value is actually not so financially demanding. Here are 6 sure ways to boost value for equity or selling your home in the future.

  1. Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is easily one of the biggest influencers of a home’s value. When you or a potential buyer takes a turn into your street, how does your home look? Is it welcoming and attractive? Does it appeal to a buyer or make you believe this home might be worth some good cash? Work on the curb appeal of your home by doing little things here and there. Enhance the appearance of your walkway with flowers. Engage in proper lawn maintenance. Paint your front door red or something bold and pretty. If possible, get your neighbors to do the same thing too because curb appeal doesn’t involve just your home. It gets better if other houses close to you have a great outward appearance too.

6 Ways to Increase Your Home Value This Year

  1. Paint and Flooring

Ever walked into a freshly painted home with equally fresh and clean flooring? Painting your home is one of the most cost-effective means of adding value to your home. It can bring a fresh look to worn out interiors. Choose colors that flatter your home to do this. Some new floorboards, carpets, and other flooring options will compliment your freshly painted walls making the home look brand new.

  1. Increase Home Efficiency

Smart homes are more than a trend. They enhance your comfort and convenience as a homeowner. Then, of course, they skyrocket value. Who wouldn’t love a home with a smart thermostat, alarm system, smart lighting, smart lock and open, and so on? An efficient home helps you save on the utility bill too.

  1. Add More Space

Adding more usable space to the home can never be wrong. Experienced realtors would tell you that homes are priced and valued based on how much livable space they contain. You can add anything from an extra bathroom to a bedroom, or even a living room.

6 Ways to Increase Your Home Value This Year

  1. Clean and Declutter

Clutter occupies so much space and sucks the brightness out of your home. A thorough clean helps you organize your home, find more space, breathable air, and increase value.

  1. Clean Windows, Check Doors

A dirty window is very distracting and does nothing for your home. Those windows are a magnet for dust and dirt. Clean them often and make them shine. Doors should not be left out either. Install new doors or clean up old ones. In a study carried out by Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs Value Study, replacing a garage door usually recoups 97.5% of its cost.

 

Read more from Four Star Construction: HERE.

Bathroom Renovation

 

Renovating any part of the home is not an easy feat. It must involve lots of planning to avoid regrettable mistakes. The annoying thing is you can make mistakes whether or not you plan. But you can’t compare the mistakes you make without a plan to those you make with a plan. To help you stay on the safe side with your bathroom renovation here are 7 common mistakes pointed out along with how to avoid them.

  1. Going in without a budget

No matter how much you have, it’s never right to embark on any project without a budget. It only leads to spending too much money and getting little value for it. Before anything begins to visit stores with the images of the kind of materials, space, and other things you need for the renovation to get a decent estimate. Of course, make provision for extra money worth at least 10% of your original budget.

Bathroom Renovation

  1. Choosing the wrong sink or bathtub

We all have that dream tub or sink that we can’t or shouldn’t try to force into our bathrooms. Don’t try this at all. Some people end up with a sink or tub that’s too large, not fitting, and/or not functional for their bathroom space.

  1. Neglecting proper ventilation

The bathroom is always a moist environment and an attraction for microorganisms. Add that to a lack of ventilation to air out space and you have peeling paint, growing mold, an entire country’s worth of microorganisms. Keep your new bathroom safe, clean, and long-lasting by ensuring proper ventilation during the remodeling process. Don’t leave out a reasonably sized window.

  1. Not committing to a theme

A renovating process makes you feel you can have anything, and that is exciting. But you shouldn’t take it so literally. Check your options from images online or in magazines and choose. Choose a theme, choose a look, décor, or idea. It saves stress and hastens your project.

  1. Trying to DIY it

Many homeowners probably believe they can even DIY building a house – they DIY everything else already. A bathroom renovation like many other projects should never be DIY. You need to hire licensed and experienced professionals for the whole project and not some parts. It will save you costs and stress in the long-run. Not to mention professionals have better finishing.

  1. Not planning for that possible contingency

Contingencies almost always occur. They can be mild or pretty serious and without any plan for them, they can greatly influence your project in the wrong way. It’s possible to discover that the upgrades are more serious than predicted. So be prepared to go with a plan B on everything.

  1. Rushing the project

Rushing the bathroom renovation might help your bathroom come together faster. But it also sets you up for other problems. A renovation or remodeling project takes time for the contractors to work through. Don’t rush them into taking shortcuts or using untested methods.

 

 

 

Kitchen Remodel

 

 

Planning a Kitchen Remodel, the kitchen is often regarded as the most important room in the home, closely followed by the bathroom before bedrooms and other living spaces. The kitchen is so vital that regardless of if you cook or not you still need it just to handle all your eating needs.

A kitchen remodel is not a project to be taken lightly, but it is highly rewarding in the end. You would be surprised at how many people want to remodel their kitchen – it can’t be helped because nothing beats a kitchen tailored to your taste and needs.

To help you go through this kitchen remodeling smoothly here is a valuable guide for the project.

  1. Start with a plan

If you have no plan, then your kitchen remodeling is a disaster waiting to happen. Planning begins by knowing what you want and why. Do you want a bigger kitchen? Why is that? These answers can influence the rest stages of the project. Next, get a clear picture of what you need. You can look to websites, magazines, and Pinterest to get a clear picture of the tastes or design you would like. They can also give you a good idea of the budget.

  1. You will need a budget

Knowing what you can afford helps to direct your project as well. Perhaps your budget can only accommodate a slight increase in size that is useful to know in the beginning than halfway through when you have already laid the foundation for something much bigger. Chances are you will always have some extra things you wish you included but don’t stress much about such things. Focus on what is most important for your kitchen remodel.

kitchen

  1. Contact the professionals

With your intended design, needs, and budget in mind, it is time to call on the professionals. A kitchen remodeling project is not just any improvement project. DIYs are hardly possible or advised here so reaching out to professionals is much better. Hire a contractor and a designer who can work hand in hand to give you your dream kitchen. Look out for factors like their price and payment schedule, their past works, license and insurance, and more. Choose professionals that will make your project a success without tearing a hole through your pocket or setting you up for disappointing surprises.

  1. Know the timeline and make living adjustments

Now, you should be ready to begin the kitchen remodel. Get the timeline for the project and try to fix it at a time in your life where you have fewer responsibilities outside your home. For example, if you would be on a vacation soon, that might be the best time for this remodel as you don’t need to worry about work too. You also need to make some living adjustments like cooking or completely living elsewhere.

When all is done, you can enjoy your hard work and investment. If you have plans to sell your home in the future, it’s good to know that the kitchen remodel increases the value of your home and you can actually recoup the money spent.

Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed our article: Planning a Kitchen Remodel

 

Call Four Star Construction for a quote: 201-505-1555

Basement Remodeling: Essentials For Cleaning Up

What was once a dark cave could very well become a new room due to basement remodeling. The fun part, obviously, would be the actual remodeling of your basement. The harder yet but a significant part is the actual clearing of all things that existed prior to the remodeling project. Here are some essential must-dos for basement remodeling preparation.

Sort out the things.

Anything accumulated before remodeling must be segregated. Have three piles: one for items you may need during the remodeling, another for possessions you intend to keep, including a final pile for things you wish to donate or throw out. Keep the one for remodeling purposes close; store the second at a new location, and dispose of the third accordingly.

Clean the room.

Get rid of cobwebs, wipe glass, sweep dust, mop floors, and scrub all the walls, windows, and floors. The room will get dirty again during the remodeling process but at any rate, the old dust and grime won’t enter into the mix.

Check for leaks and cracks.

Before starting the remodeling of your basement, locate existing leaks and cracks. Any such seepage or fissure is evidence that the previous waterproofing measures done previously may be flawed or need repairs. These need to be fixed before the renovation of the basement begins.

If necessary, refurbish your basement waterproofing system. More frequently than not, too much moisture can often mean a waterproofing system is absent or the present one should be included in the remodeling.
Check the water drainage, usually found on the outside perimeter of the house, for water leaks. Include this renovation in the initial stages of remodeling your basement.

Treat all mold and mildew.

Moisture, as well as the harmful bacteria that come with it, is a hazard to the remodeling of basements. Apply industrial-grade mold removal product to all stains. For good measure as well as to be totally rid of it before basement remodeling begins, scrub all surrounding walls and fixtures with the chemical even if you don’t see any telltale discolorations. If there are stubborn stains on various wall plaster, pipe, or window frame, get rid of them. Make sure to include their replacements during basement remodeling.

Clean out all the air vents.

As a final step before any remodeling, wash out the air vents to stop molds and bacteria from spreading. Replace any insulation that shows discoloration because mold can grow on heated up surfaces during winter. Use a dehumidifier once in a while to minimize the risk of it from growing back. Utilize it during basement remodeling, too.

A clean workplace is a safe one, a dirty one can make the remodeling of your basement a problem. Make basement remodeling less complicated for you and contractors to speed up the job. Before you realize it, your basement remodeling project will be finished.

Contact 4 Star Construction at: (201) 505-1555

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