What is the Real Difference Between Remodeling and Renovating?

If you’re planning a major overhaul of your home, you may be unsure about what to call it. Is it a renovation? Is it a remodel? Aren’t they the same? Though the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they actually are two separate things, depending on how deep into your house’s structure your changes go. A remodel means you’re changing the actual structure of your home, while a renovation is making surface changes while keeping basic structure intact. While it’s possible to overlap these a bit, these two general definitions should cover the bases nicely.

Now, if you’re not the DIY type, or even if you are but just need to hire another set of hands, you can get a general handyman to help you with most renovation projects. However, unless you’re really experienced and confident in your skills, we wouldn’t recommend trying to complete a remodel yourself. Once you start tearing down walls or cutting windows, you can easily make a mistake that will cost you thousands of dollars to fix. Best to hire a small company or team of professionals to handle it for you.

These differences in labor and depth of work should give you some concept of cost disparity between renovations and remodels. Renovations can often be completed on a budget, while remodels are going to cost you a little more money. This is especially true if you are adding something to your home that will require a permit, which is sometimes an unexpected extra $1,000. Also, if you got an estimate from your contractor, make sure you have some extra set aside, not only for if you go over budget, but also for extras like appliances, flooring, paint – all kinds of little things that contractors may not have factored into their price. So if you don’t have the big bucks, a renovation may be more your speed. However, if you have the cash, a remodel can really transform your home in a significant way.

12 Ways to Save Money When Shopping For New Home Appliances

Buying new appliances for your home can get really expensive really quickly. You need a new fridge, and the one you like is stainless steel! But the oven is white… Well, your oven is getting old anyways, why not replace that too? But then the dishwasher is acting funny… Suddenly you’ve decided you need a whole new kitchen and panic sets it. Before you decide to hyperventilate, check out these ten tips to get appliance costs down so you can get all the new items you want, at a fraction of the cost!

  1. Do your homework. If you’re just skimming websites for prices, you may only encounter the manufacturer’s minimum price, meaning the retail company can’t advertise the appliance for less. But if you click on the item or go into a store, you may find they’re actually selling it for less money.
  2. Time your purchase right, if you can. Buy towards the end of the year or the beginning of the next, when new models are coming out and last year’s are discounted.
  3. Build your online shopping cart… and then let it sit for a week. Some retailers will email you a coupon to get you to buy. 
  4. Puzzle out the price tag. Some companies use symbols by their tags to indicate things like whether the price can and will go down soon.
  5. Snoop around the price tags – often there’s a tag behind the one on display that shows how the price will change.
  6. Chat with your repairmen. Often they know where to get good deals in the neighborhood!
  7. Combine discounts! This one is becoming more common since we’ve become more aware of “extreme couponing”, but it’s worth noting because it can save you a bundle. 

  8. Don’t be afraid to haggle. It may seem weird in a modern appliance store, but it can save you as much as $200!
  9. Sell your old appliance for scrap! Even if it doesn’t work, you can sell it on craigslist or to a used appliance store willing to fix it up.
  10. Send in your rebate. A lot of us simply forget to do this, but though it takes a while to get back to you, that extra cash makes it so worthwhile.

The Last Original Frank Lloyd Wright Homeowners Tell Their Story

What would be Frank Llyod Wright’s 150th anniversary will be this year, and in celebration of the prolific and iconic architect’s work, we’re taking a look at people who commissioned Wright to design their homes – and then have stayed in them until this day. Wright often developed designs for patrons after having extensive conversations with them, which is why talking to these people who spoke to the master is integral to understanding his work.

For example, Roland Reisley, 92, thinks he might in some small way be able to credit Wright’s design with his longevity. “Living with a source of beauty in a comforting, enriching environment is psychologically beneficial. There’s not a day of my life when I don’t see something beautiful: the sun on a particular stone; the way the wood is mitered.” Helen and Paul Olfelt recall being concerned that Wright had put doors to the outside in their children’s’ rooms. “He gave us quite a lecture on why we shouldn’t be so controlling of children,” Helen recalls, but in the end he changed them to large windows.

Bob Walton said he was initially skeptical of Wright, but that he was impressed by how much he wanted to take the environment and landscape into account before building the Walton’s a home. “He wanted an aerial photograph, he wanted to know the flora and fauna. And he wanted to know how we were going to live.” Wright loved trying new materials to accomplish his practical-but-beautiful visions, and in a life spanning from the civil war to post-WWII, he saw a lot of new innovations. Often these came at a steep price tag; Wright was perpetually over-budget. He also could get tyrannical about his vision, but not at the expense of his client’s needs. Reisley notes, “If you said, ‘I’d like this here instead of there’ ”—questioning Wright’s judgment—“that’s what led to all the sparks. But if you described a need, he’d try to satisfy that.” His patrons loved him, and they love the houses that some of them still live in because of the character they possess and functionality they still exude, as much as 70 years after the architect’s death. After all these years, these houses are still inexcusably Wright.

What is a Water Hammer and Why You Should Know

We all know that houses have their little noises and creaks. It’s part of what gives them character and (sometimes) charm. However, if you live in a house older than a few years, you’ve probably heard a loud bang in your pipes that is anything but charming. Well, it’s called a water hammer (apt!) and in a few simple steps, you can stop this from happening altogether!

Source: Supply House

A lot of people think water moves peacefully through their pipes like a lazy river; after all, it just trickles out of the sink, right? Wrong. Water tumbles and rushes this way and that, wherever the pipes let it go, and when the pressure in the pipes increases suddenly (or sometimes, when you shut off your water value completely) the water comes to a full stop, making the pipes bang into their hangers and fasteners. This can be a one-time thing, or it can happen repeatedly, caused by a clog or by air chambers that have become waterlogged. As you can probably imagine, excess hammering can go hand-in-hand with bursting pipes and other plumbing issues.

Source: PlumbingMart
Source: PlumbingMart

So what is there to be done? If you’re feeling capable, you can turn your water line off and drain the main supply lines, and then make sure everything is off before turning the water back on again. You faucets will sputter for a few seconds afterwards, but then the balance should be restored. However, if this doesn’t work or you don’t feel like it’s something you have the DIY knowledge to accomplish, simply call a plumber. They should check your pipes for excess buildup and clogs, and might install a pressure-reducing valve. Hey, whatever it takes to stop that nerve-wracking banging, right?

How Hiring People to Live in Your Home Can Help You Sell it Faster

If you have the luxury of buying a new house and moving out of your current home before it’s sold, you may have heard of a weird phenomenon where empty houses don’t sell as quickly. This is how staged companies make their money – they rent out furniture and decorate a house as if someone is living there. Well now there’s a new trend out that takes that to the next level – hiring someone to actually move into your empty home to get it to sell!

It may sound weird – and as of right now it’s a pretty unusual occurrence – but there are now a handful of companies that match people who have empty homes and want to sell with families willing to relocate to that home, for a matter of months. Michael Kelton, the COO of ShareHouses, says that buyers are better able to imagine living in a home that is actually being lived in. “Something about having food in the pantry … it’s hard to put my finger on it, but there’s some kind of emotional connection that happens,” he recently told NPR. It also gives homeowners peace of mind, knowing that someone is looking after their property before it sells.

However, being the person who actually lives in the house can be hard. Not only do you have to move a lot – one couple noted moving 11 times in 6 years – but you can never leave your home a wreck because it could be shown to potential buyers at any moment. And if it IS about to be shown, you have to make yourself scarce. It’s a hard way to live, and reduced rent may not be worth it for some people, especially since there’s rules about how nice your furniture has to be and where it can be placed. But for people who like to change their homes often and don’t mind the added effort, this can be a cool and unique lifestyle choice!