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    We could all use a vacation right now here are some COVID-safe getaways near Johnson County – Shawnee Mission Post - February 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    If a global pandemic wasnt enough, we all just suffered through one of the coldest weeks in metro Kansas Citys recent memory, which caused rolling blackouts and even more cabin fever.

    Many Johnson County residents may not have been so keen on travel this year. And admittedly, this may not be the time to take a family cruise or book a flight to some tropical locale.

    Still, if local AirBnB listings are any indication, a cozy, pandemic-friendly getaway for a long weekend or a few days off in the KC metro, could be in your future.

    Heres a look at 10 staycation options that are a 60-minute drive or less from Johnson County.

    The sweet and peaceful guesthouse is located on the first floor of a 19th Century carriage house in Kansas City, Mo. The 600-square-foot space can accommodate up to four guests with two beds and one bathroom.

    This space is within walking distance of shops and restaurants at 17th Street and Summit.

    Wanting to see what it would be like to live in an off the grid tiny home? Well here is your chance!

    This 186-square-foot cabin, located about 20 minutes from downtown Lawrence, is situated on an old rock quarry meadow on 40 acres of forest.

    According to the listing the home offers a serene and peaceful setting for souls seeking restoration, quiet, and the healing qualities of the woods.

    This is a rustic staycation option as the tiny home does not have running water (the bathroom is an outhouse) and uses solar panels for electricity.

    This staycation offers two add-on packages including a breakfast package (which provides a taste of local farms) and an option to rent a kayak from the owners.

    This super contemporary space near downtown Lawrence is decked out in stainless steel and plexiglass with recycled basketball court flooring. It has a outdoor deck with fire pit and grill for an outdoor dining experience and can house up to five guests with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

    But this space isnt all modern. It offers a rustic vibe as its located adjacent to a barn that houses chickens and two Nigerian dwarf goats named Maisy and Bo.

    This unique treehouse is located near Leavenworth in Easton, Kan. and can host up to two guests with one bedroom and one bathroom.

    The tree cabin is located on 32 acres on the Hidden Valley Wilderness Retreat and overlooks a trickling creek. The listing encourages visitors to enjoy forest walking trails and a koi pond and has a hot tub amenity option.

    Birdies Nest is a recently-renovated loft in Harrisonville, Mo. located above Birdies Boutique and Antiques. The space has original, exposed 100+ year-old brick walls and is perfect for a romantic stay on the Harrisonville Square.

    This listing encourages guests to look across towards President Harry Trumans home as his secret service detail did while they occupied the home between 1970 and 1982.

    The house can host up to eight guests and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

    While the home offers historic character, like a clawfoot tub, it also has modern day amenities.

    Digging the presidential theme, but not a fan of Henry Truman? Weve got a second option for you. According to the Airbnb listing, Queenies Loft overlooks a bronze statute marking where Abraham Lincoln announced his run for presidency.

    This one bed, one bath space features 165-year-old brick and hardwoods that are original to the building.

    There are plenty of options to stay warm in this cozy cottage located about 30 minutes west of Overland Park.

    The detached mini carriage house dubbed Kathys Kottage offers two electric fireplaces, a fire pit, and a hot tub. And according to its Airbnb page, the home is the most unique and creative Airbnb in the world!

    This staycation is kid friendly and the host provides coloring books, crayons, games and videos. The listing also teases that guests will receive a mystery special gift.

    This Kansas City studio offers one bedroom and one bathroom and is located 5 to 10 minutes from downtown Kansas City.

    The home is in walking distance to restaurants and bars, according to the Airbnb listing. And the space has a built-in scavenger hunt activity. The homes owners encourage visitors to check out some fun artifacts they found in the walls and attic while remodeling the space.

    If you are curious what it would be like to live on a farm this carriage house may be the right fit for you.

    This quaint space, located about an hour north of Overland Park, is the perfect place to write, read, paint or just pause, according to its listing.

    The carriage house is on a working farm complete with goats, horses, chickens and the worlds best not-so-mini-pig Dolores Claiborne.

    The listing promises visitors they will hear coyotes howling at night and a choir of roosters in the morning.

    Original post:
    We could all use a vacation right now here are some COVID-safe getaways near Johnson County - Shawnee Mission Post

    Additions that Add Value to A Home – – VENTS Magazine - February 14, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Several homeowners consider home additions as expensive and remain perplexed about their usefulness and ability to add value. However, adding square footage to the home or making a few essential upgrades is an excellent way to fetch a good ROI. But not all home additions are equal. Some are a complete waste of time, money, and effort, while others can recoup more than half of the amount invested.

    Well-researched and carefully deliberated add-ons are more likely to pay off in the future. They increase the living area, enhance the look and functionality, and substantially add to the homes value. If your needs have outgrown the current homes space and there is a possibility of putting up the house for sale in the future, it is only smart to add on to the home to increase its resale value.

    While contemplating a home renovation, here are a few additions you can make to attract more potential buyers:


    Not having enough bathrooms in the house is not only inconvenient but also turns-off the potential buyers. Consider adding a full or a half-bath, depending on the budget, to enhance the functionality and sales appeal. People working on a tight budget can expand the existing one and upgrade to modern designs and features. The cost of bathroom addition depends on the size and the accessories you wish to include. Homeowners are likely to recover more than 50% of the bathroom addition investment.


    For homes lacking an outdoor patio space, adding a deck makes for a useful and wise investment. It offers a fun and enjoyable spot for the family and is appealing to potential buyers. For areas experiencing milder climates, a deck makes the outdoor space usable year-round. People living in regions with cold winters can enclose it to convert it into a sunroom or an extra room to expand the living space. And the best part, it offers 75-80% returns on the investment.

    Finish the basement or attic

    Unfinished basements or attics in several households serve as an extra storage space. One of the most affordable ways to create an extra living space without adding an extra room is to convert these areas into a bedroom, workout area, or a home office without detailed structural changes. Add a bathroom and closets to increase the functionality. Basement remodeling recoups more than 75% of the investment.

    Add Windows

    Adding new windows has more benefits than one. They eliminate drafts, and their insulation properties significantly cut the heating and cooling expenses, saving money on energy bills. House with energy-saving features is a big attraction for potential buyers.

    Kitchen additions

    The kitchen is the center of attraction in every house. If you feel it lacks adequate space and feels cramped, add on to it to increase the homes salability. Kitchen remodels or additions fetch one of the highest returns. Updating the existing appliances and adding new cabinets, counter, center island, or a pantry for additional storage makes the kitchen more enjoyable and functional and pays back a big chunk of the invested money.

    Add an extra story

    Adding an extra story is an expensive and time-consuming home addition that adds significantly to the square footage. It enhances the homes resale value and makes it appealing to potential homebuyers. An extra floor with a master suite recoups more than half of the investment while selling.

    These are a few additions to consider while looking to boost the homes value. Selecting the best one for your needs depends on factors like location, size, and condition of the current house, budget, and when are you willing to put up the market for sale? Home additions and remodels present an incredible way to create a valuable and comfortable living space.

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    Additions that Add Value to A Home - - VENTS Magazine

    Ask McEnearney: 10 steps to keep in mind if you are thinking of renovating / remodeling – Inside NoVA - January 15, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    According to Merriam-Webster, "remodel" is "to alter the structureof; to remake. Whereas "renovate" is to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing or rebuilding).

    So, I hear they arent making any more land. Maybe thats why its so expensive. It must also be why some people find themselves looking to remodel or renovate an improvement. Did you know thats what a building structure, like a house, is? If you look at your tax record, there is a reference for tax on thelandand one for tax on theimprovement. That improvement is your house. And, lets face it, some improvements are in serious need of a remodel or renovation!

    Not sure you want to buy, or cant afford to buy the kind of home you want now? Consider remodeling or renovating. It can be a good strategy and longer-term plan particularly well suited if you love where you currently live or if there is a particular area you like but you cant find a home that meets your needs. Buy one that COULD suit your needs later and plan to remodel or renovate. Create the home you want tailor it to fit your needs. Buy the rambler and in five years pop the top to create a colonial! Add a new roofline to that Cape Cod making true, usable rooms in the attic You get the idea.

    I recently visited a client named Jill and was reminded what a great strategy this can be. Jill and her husband love their neighborhood and dont want to leave but are out of space and tired of the style of their home with its dated features and what seems to be an unusable hillside yard. Moving to a bigger and more contemporary home is cost-prohibitive. So, we strategized and discussed staying and remodeling, adding, and maximizing that hillside. If this sounds familiar, youre probably wondering, what should I consider?

    First, make sure you really like what the home could be and the overall location.

    Second, make sure that the neighborhood can support a big remodel or renovation (as Realtors always think future resale! Will your planned updates make sense?).

    Third,if there is a homeowners association,will the project youre considering be allowed?Youll need to check the community by-laws carefully.

    Fourth,set a budget. While often not as expensive as buying, renovating is not cheap especially since the recent pandemic has disrupted supply chains.

    Fifth,consult smart, experienced professionals. Do you need an architect? Builder? Class A contractor? Landscape architect? Interior designer / space planner? Yes, you will spend some money, but I have learned, first-hand, that you will make up for it in errors you would have made without the assistance of these qualified professionals. They can save you costly mistakes and time, not to mention stress! Another bonus is they often get discounts on materials, furniture, finishes, or services that you would not get as a member of the general public. Professionals can help you realize goals that are important to you. Do you want to build green or use recycled or reclaimed material? Carry along a certain style or theme throughout? Maybe you want designated spaces for your hobbies? They can help you achieve all of this. As a Realtor, I cant tell you how often Ive heard, I wish I would have consulted with someone about some perceived mistake. You will have a better product and more enjoyable space in the end, if you consult with quality professionals.

    Sixth,come up with a game plan and be specific and realistic what can you do when? How long will it take?

    Seventh,consider unforeseen costs. Will you have to move out of the house for a while and will you need movers to help? What about storage costs for your belongings?

    Eighth,make sure you have the appropriate insurance on your property if you will have people there working.

    Ninth,dont spend all of your money on the inside and leave no funds for the outside. We have all seen the giant castle on a barren piece of land! Landscaping sets the stage, frames the home, invites and welcomes, and softens hard edges These days, our outside spaces have proven to be more important than ever. They are our escape from home school, Zoom meetings, and a safer space to visit with friends.

    Tenth,when it is done ENJOY your improved improvement. As we have learned this year there may come a time when you spend more time in your home than you would have ever imagined!

    Ann McClure is a licensed real estate agent in Virginia and Maryland with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in McLean, VA. If you would like more information on selling or buying in todays complex market, contact Ann at 301-367-5098 or visit her website

    If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: or call 703.549.9292.

    McEnearney Associates Realtors, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreMcEnearney

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    Ask McEnearney: 10 steps to keep in mind if you are thinking of renovating / remodeling - Inside NoVA

    2020 Cost to Finish an Attic | Remodeling & Renovation … - December 3, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Cleaning out the attic: $110 - $160

    Before renovation, you'll need to clear out your attic. You'll need to remove your stuff, clean any water damage, damage fromrodent or pest problems, and possibly remove insulation.

    You can do this yourself or hire a professional cleaning and insulation service to give your attic the clean slate it needs. The averagecost of a professional attic cleaningranges from $110 to $160.

    You will need to install new insulation to make the space habitable. To add attic insulation, expectinstallation to cost between $800 - $3,500, including materials and labor for a professional to add it.

    Many homeowners use spray foam insulation in their attics, since it's easy to use in new construction with open and unfinished walls and attic spaces. Expect to pay between $3 to $5 per square foot on average nationwide to have spray foam injected into an existing home.

    Not only is proper insulation a key step to finishing your remodel, it can also help decrease your overall heating and air conditioning costs.

    Many attics don't have finished floors you would want in a normal living space. You will need toinstall the new floors, and possibly subfloors as well. The cost of adding flooring and subfloors varies based on material.

    Hardwood floorscost about $4,000 whilecarpetingcosts less than $2,500. Tile orlaminatefor the new bathroom floor costs between $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the size of the floor.

    Installing windows and skylights vary a lot in cost, but the average price toinstall a new window is $500. Adding a dormer window (a roof window that projects slightly from a sloping roof) or skylight can bring natural light into the space. Dormers can also add some much-needed height and change the character of the room, taking away the typical narrow A-line look of most attics.

    If your attic doesn't yet have it, you will need walls and dry walls.Drywall installation costsare, on average, between $375 to $1,500 for materials and professional installation roughly $30 and $60 per panel. If you're installing it on the ceiling too, double that amount.

    You willneed a carpenterto install walls, which costs about $1,900. For an attic ceiling, that will cost about $1,500. Most attic rooms also need to have basic baseboards added, which start at $1,000 to install.

    To complete your conversion of dark, dusty attic to bright, lounge-worthy loft, you'll need lights. Any electrical wiring, which includes new outlets and lights, will add to your costs.Lighting installation costsare $130 to $150, on average.

    Electricians typically chargebetween $45 to $120 an hour to run new wires, add new outlets and possibly install lighting and a ceiling fan. The total electrical cost for an attic remodel ranges between $1,300 and $3,000.

    The walls are up. The floors are finished. The windows are in. Once the heavy renovations have wrapped up, it's time to put the finishing touches on by painting the walls. You could either DIY this step or hire a professional to paint your walls. The cost to hire aninterior painterranges from $200 to $2,700, on average nationally.

    The new room may need to be attached to the existing HVAC system for heating and cooling. HVAC contractors charge on average between $50 to $120 an hour, depending on the work that needs to be done.

    If you're adding a bathroom, expect to pay an electrician on average between $50 and $200 an hour to install new pipes and drains for the bathroom as well as a sink, toilet and possibly a shower or bathtub. Not including the fixtures, plumbing costs for an attic renovation range from $1,000 to $1,500.

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    2020 Cost to Finish an Attic | Remodeling & Renovation ...

    70 Cool Attic Bedroom Design Ideas – Shelterness - December 3, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    rustic attic bedroom that features amazing forest view

    We already showed you several cool attic bedrooms but this is the time to show you more. An attic bedroom is usually associated with romance because its perfect to get some privacy. It usually looks quite appealing even though some people think that attic space is unusable.

    Turning your attic into a bedroom is a great idea especially for small houses. The space there is usually at a premium. Besides, attic bedroom can be an especially useful addition for growing families. Although designing such room might be challenging. Weve gathered the most beautiful and dreamy attic bedroom designs and tips that might help you with the task.

    Here are those things you should consider when creating a bedroom of your dreams:

    Below you will find lots of ideas showing how to design a perfect attic bedroom.

    gorgeous and moody attic bedroom decorated with lots of rustic elements

    all white bedroom beneath the vaulted ceiling

    attic bedroom combined with a bathroom

    attic bedroom design with whitewashed brick wall

    cozy and spacious attic bedroom in rustic style

    cozy little attic bedroom suitable for a teenager

    Cozy small attic bedroom

    dreamy attic bedrrom with clever lights

    dreamy loft room design

    farmhouse-style attic bedroom

    loft bedroom design with lots of creative accesories

    minimalist attic bedroom design with super large windows

    modern scandinavian inspired attic bedroom design

    natural attic bedrrom decor

    rustic bohemian attic bedrrom design

    smart small attic bedroom design with black ceiling

    stylish attic bedroom design with lots of book storage

    stylish loft bedroom design full of creative ideas

    white attic bedroom with a touch of yellow and a brick wall

    exposed wooden beams are one of those things that make attic space so cool

    bright colors are perfect for an attic bedroom



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    70 Cool Attic Bedroom Design Ideas - Shelterness

    The Home Guru: The Top Half-Dozen Home Updates That Pay Off – The Examiner News - December 3, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By Bill Primavera

    Like most people, Im stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, contemplating the ceiling, floor and walls, along with all they encompass. Other people might be using this downtime to consider upgrades they could be incorporating into their homes, but thank God I live in a relatively new home where no updates are needed.

    I bought my condo new just five years ago and only had to add my personal touches, such as adding professional woodworking of fine furniture quality in each room.

    Had the pandemic visited us a few years ago when I was living in a 275-year-old farmhouse, it would have been a totally different story. From the time my wife and I moved in more than 40 years ago, until we downsized to our new home, we were in constant updating mode. While we always loved our surroundings, we never quite finished the job.

    If we were still living in our old home, I would be going nuts right now, making lists of the remodeling and upgrade work that needed to be done while sidelined by the pandemic. During the entire time I lived there, I was never able to just sit back and relax.

    Now, however, with an almost perverse delight, I checked in with HGTV for the first time in years to see what other homeowners were up to in upgrading their homes and how much money they were doling out to get the projects done.

    HGTV offered 15 top projects with the biggest returns on investment, but my mind would have exploded to consider all 15. I think a good half-dozen is all my brain can accommodate, even when its strictly for editorial consideration.

    Minor Bathroom Remodel

    Average return at resale: 102 percent

    It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surrounds, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. Remove dated wall coverings and apply a fresh coat of paint. For damaged walls, spray-on texture provides quick coverage. The removal of old shower doors or replacing them with clear glass creates the illusion of space.


    Average return at resale: 100 percent

    The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and $1,465 on a designer, according to the American Nursery Landscape Association. Local garden centers often offer free design services. Sod costs about 30 to 35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000-square-foot yard would cost about $1,500 to sod.

    Minor Kitchen Remodel

    Average return at resale: 98.5 percent

    A minor kitchen remodel averages $14,913 for $14,691 at resale, a recoup rate of 98.5 percent. Do a minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update and not a drastically different floor plan. A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of re-facing for cabinets and drawers, a new wall oven, cooktop, sink and fixtures, laminate countertops and resilient flooring.

    Exterior Improvements (including vinyl siding, paint, updated front entry)

    Average return at resale: 95.5 percent

    The average national cost to replace 1,250 square feet of vinyl siding: $7,239. Average return: $6,914, with a recoup rate of 95.5 percent. A gallon of paint covers 400 square feet of house. Upscale, fiber-cement siding costs $10,393 and returns $10,771 at resale, an even better recoup rate of 103.6 percent.

    Attic Bedroom Conversion

    Average return at resale: 93.5 percent

    The average attic bedroom in a two- or three-bedroom house costs $39,188 and returns $36,649 at resale. Adding attic insulation lowers utility bills, making sure the foil vapor barrier is installed down toward the ceiling to prevent moisture from seeping up. A solar-powered attic fan is an efficient way to save on cooling costs.

    Major Bathroom Remodel

    Average return at resale: 93.2 percent

    A major bathroom remodel involves expanding an existing 5-foot by 7-foot bathroom, relocating and replacing the tub and toilet and adding designer sinks and faucets, a linen closet, lighting, a ceramic tile floor and exhaust fan for $26,052, which brings in $24,286 at resale.

    These are just some of the ideas for upgrading the home that pay off best. If youre fully upgraded as I am, the pandemic can offer the welcome excuse to just sit back, relax and gain weight from the lack of physical activity, as Im doing.

    Bill Primavera, while a writer and public relations practitioner, is also a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate. To engage the talents and services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

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    The Home Guru: The Top Half-Dozen Home Updates That Pay Off - The Examiner News

    The Power of Three: Home care across three generations – Citizentribune - November 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    If you have almost any kind of home repair, find a member of the Brewer family of Morristown.

    It all started with Mike Brewer, 67, who has worked in the heating and air business since 1973 with Mitchell-Hodge Electric and has run his own business, York of Morristown, for five and a half years. Then, son Chris expanded into the concrete business, followed by grandson Christian into household remodeling.

    Given their breadth of experience, one could call all three, at one time or another, to get repairs done on their house.

    Ive worked for other companies since 1973, but Ive had my own business for five and a half years, Mike said. Chris worked for in the 90s, then branched out to learn the concrete business. My grandson worked for me two or three years back, then he evidently didnt like it here, so he decided to go on into construction.

    Since COVID-19 happened this year, Brewer has been busier than ever.

    People have found that theyre stuck inside, he said. They want heat and they want air. Instead of going on vacation, people are spending their money for home improvement. That means a lot. Ive been extremely busy this summer. If you dont need heat or air, the phone doesnt ring.

    Im trying to get that business lull out of there, he said

    Hes stayed busy, Mikes wife Linda said.

    Brewer said that he has a couple of guys who helps install new units.

    Ive got three people who helps install, he said.

    In addition to working with Mitchell-Hodge Electric, Mike worked for Hodge Electric and was a plant maintenance worker at Lear Corporation for more than 22 years before retiring and opening York of Morristown.

    Im skilled in heating and air, a skilled electrician and gas piping. I have a lot of things that I can do and dont advertise unless theyre called for. The service aspect is completely different than the installing of the unit. I can make and install the ductwork. I dont ask someone to do something I wouldnt do, Mike said. If I ask them to do it, Ive done it.

    Mike learned at the feet of Luke Mitchell.

    Luke was a good man to work for and hed give you the shirt off his back. Hed give you a job to do. (For example) if you had a two-ton unit, you had two days and thats all you had.

    If you werent done in two days, hed want to know why. It didnt matter if it was an attic, crawl space or what. Back then, everything was all metal. There was no flex. All of your off lines were metal and you had to tile that in under the house, but you just had two days. There were just two of us who done it and we have it done. Now, with flex, it takes these guys three or four days, he said. I dont know why, it should be quicker, but people dont push like they used to. I dont push people.

    I believe you get a better job when you dont push people, Mike said. You want it done right and thats the main key to me. That has gotten me more work. Treating the customer right, treating them and their homes with respect instead of just going in and cutting up. You look for ways to do it as easy as possible doing the least amount of damage. I think that attitude will bring you more work and it always has.

    With a heat pump, there is a misconception that it costs more to heat than to cool.

    I stress cleaning a unit and keeping the filter changed, Mike said. Cleaning is so very important to the life of the unit. A good way to keep the unit clean is to change the air filter when one gets their electric bill. Some people get their bills in the middle of the month, but it doesnt matter as long as the filter is changed or checked monthly.

    With the modern energy efficient thermostats, temperature control has become a science.

    Some of the modern thermostats have a red light that comes on to tell people to change their filters, he said. If you go through the process of getting the light off there, then youve gone through the process of changing the filter.

    Once a year service also extends the life of a heat pump.

    I have some customers who do it in the spring, some in the fall, Mike said. It really needs to be done in the spring when the air conditioning season starts. The chemicals you use on your coils needs to wash off. You dont want to blow water into your ducts.

    York of Morristown is a member of the Better Business Bureau, York Heat Pumps are some of the best on the market, with a 10-year parts and labor warranty. York also has the Good Housekeeping Seal.

    I dont have to do the hard sell, Im already within 60 percent since I was referred by a friend, Mike said. Anytime during the day and night when a unit is down, I make a call. You cant leave somebody down. If youve sold a unit and they depend on you, you just cannot leave them down. I dont believe in that. I come when they ask me to come.

    Mike tries to put those buying units from him at the top of the list, as far as service goes, even working in customers who he services their equipment and is down.

    If youre down, Im going to do my best to get to you that day, he said. I also put priorities on age, if one is older or if they have younger children, than I try to take care of them that day.

    Chris Brewer

    I learned the business and worked in Blount County for a little while, but it wasnt for me.

    Chris got into the concrete business in 1998 and hasnt slowed down since.

    I met a man in Maryville who was needing help, Chris said. He told me that day, Im going to give you five years to get out of this, Im going to whup your butt if youre not out of this in five years. Here it is 20 years later and Im still doing it.

    Chris credits Walt Brown for helping him to learn the ins and outs of concrete.

    He did any big commercial from the Tri-Cities to Atlanta, all the way to Charlotte, North Carolina and Nashville, we did everything downtown, the convention center, Smokies Stadium, Gatlinburg Convention Center. Weve done a lot of huge projects through the years. Ive put down a couple of hundred thousand yards of concrete over these years.

    Chris does 90% of his work himself, from excavation, prep and form and finishing. He only brings in help when he has to put concrete on the ground. He has been working on his own for four years and has not had anyone to help him.

    Its getting to the point where Im going to have to get the help, Chris said. You have to have work coming in behind you so you can pay these guys. Once you take someone, not only are they helping you out, theyre family. Not only are you paying them, you are taking care of their bills, their food and their babies formula and diapers. If you dont have work coming in and keep them on the payroll, what are they going to do? Whos to say what this next years going to hold? It could blow up for me and Id have to hire 10 men.

    Chris said that it take a special breed to work concrete.

    Anymore, you cant find anyone who wants to work, Chris said. Especially, a small business like myself. Thats another reason why I dont overbook, I dont know if I can find anybody to help. Then you get these guys who dont know what theyre doing, demanding $13-$14 per hour.

    If I had the right type of finishers, Im like dad in that Im not going to ask someone to do something I wouldnt do, while I still can. I need somebody who I can point to a job and tell them to get it started, so I can go sell jobs or get with a new employee who is green like I was. I had to learn on my own, sit back and watch these guys with 15-30 years experience. Walt would pull me to the side every now and then and ask Hey, do you understand what is going on? and explain the process.

    Chris said it took years of putting concrete on the ground and researching the product to get where he is today.

    When you finish concrete, 90 percent come into a place and finish, he said. You get it ready, you buy the materials. Im a turnkey, from prepping to site prep, excavation to cleanup of the site, I do it all. When I sell a job, I try to leave my job site the way it was, if not better. Thats kind of hard to do when youre in construction, especially a dirty job like this.

    If you can appease the customers from the get-go, that extra step will take you a long way, Chris said.

    Christian Brewer, Mr. Bs Home Improvement

    Unlike Chris, Christian deals with interior improvements, in particular kitchen and bathroom remodels.

    Ive been on my own for two years, Christian said. The first time I did it was with Dad (Chris).

    Christian got into home remodeling by accident.

    I was suspended from high school, he said. He took me to work and I realized that I didnt want to do concrete!

    Christian joined the military after high school and learned his work ethic from the military.

    It seems hereditary, which is a good thing, but the military got me straightened out, Christian said. When I got back, I worked for my grandfather in 2017. Its not that I didnt enjoy it, I wanted to do something that no one else was doing. I got into construction working for a Morristown company.

    Christian started working on a subdivision in Jefferson City.

    We did a little bit of everything, we laid tile, sheetrock, framing, some roofing, he said. Thats when I realized that there are no tile guys, anywhere. They had only one and he never showed up. The guy who taught me to do tile worked for the same company. Every once in a while, theyd have to do the tile. I got tired of working for them and not getting paid what youre worth. I decided to go out on my own and got into tile work.

    Christian has done a lot of interior remodeling, including roll-in showers for veterans.

    Thats where I really got into it and word got out, he said.

    Christian critiques every job to see where he can improve.

    I do mostly tile work, but I do just about anything, as long as it doesnt involve concrete, he said. Then Ill tell them to call Chris.

    All three help each other with business contacts because, after all, they are family.

    You have a guy who can build it, a guy who can do the heating and air and a guy who can do all of the concrete work, Mike said. You have everything you need, but the plumbing, and I can do that, too, but I dont push that.

    Mike and Linda will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in May.

    She hadnt killed me yet, but shes threatened several times, Mike said.

    Go here to read the rest:
    The Power of Three: Home care across three generations - Citizentribune

    When Should You Call For A Free Roof Inspection? – - November 15, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Posted: Nov 13, 2020 / 08:54 AM EST / Updated: Nov 13, 2020 / 08:55 AM EST

    It is that time of year when the hot summer of North Carolina is slowly drifting away and cooler days are ahead of us. As the weather changes North Carolinians see more rain, more hurricanes start to roll through and North Carolinians are more aware of their leaking drains, leaking roofs and more.

    Your home is your most important investment because its where you and your family live. The roof is what protects your home from the elements, and it is important to make sure that you have a quality roof over head. It is always better to address issues while they are still manageable, rather than letting damages get out of hand and potentially cause damage to other areas of your home. Roofs should be inspected twice per year and after any major storm event. Harbeck Roofing & Remodeling offers complimentary no obligation roof inspections to ensure that your home is in peak condition. Here are 5 signs that you should call today for a free roof inspection.

    When there are shingles missing from your roof, it is very important to call for a roof inspection. Missing shingles allow a way for water to get into your home. They can also cause a zipper effect in future storms where you can lose more shingles and have more extensive damage.

    Wind can cause shingles to lift, crease, or break over time. This can allow wind driven rain to infiltrate the underlayment of the roof, which can cause more damage in the future. Lifted shingles need to be addressed before they become a more serious issue.

    Ridge vent can be prone to lifting in the wind due to major storm events or improper installation. Ridge vent is key to proper attic and home ventilation, but lifting ridge vent can allow water to enter your home with wind driven rain and cause interior damage. If you notice that your ridge vent is lifting, you need to call for an inspection.

    Leaks are always a sign of a problem. Not only are leaks inconvenient, but they can also cause expensive interior damage to your home. Leaks can be caused by a number of factors and it is important to get them checked out before they cause more damage to the home.

    Excessive amounts of granules running off your roof into gutters, driveways, or yards is a sign that your roof is past its lifespan. Degranulation of shingles causes your roof to lose water shedding capabilities and can potentially allow water to penetrate through the raw fiberglass matting remaining. This is typically a sign that your roof is due for replacement.

    Harbeck Roofing wants to make sure that your homes are protected before winter storms hit so that during this holiday season you dont need to be concerned about your roof. If you are interested in receiving your free consultation head on over to:

    See the original post:
    When Should You Call For A Free Roof Inspection? -

    ABOUT REAL ESTATE: How to get home-improvement items on the ‘cheap’ – Sarasota Herald-Tribune - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    David W. Myers| Kings Feature Syndicate

    There are several ways to save money when launching a new construction or remodeling job. One of the best is to shop at the "ReStores" that are operated by the nation's largest not-for-profit housing group, Habitat for Humanity.

    DEAR MR. MYERS: I recently heard that one of my favorite charities, Habitat for Humanity, also operates several retail stores that offer some good bargains in things like construction materials, appliances and other home-improvement items. Is this true? If so, how can I find a store near me?

    ANSWER: Habitat for Humanity, which has built more than 300,000 homes for low- and moderate-income persons in the U.S. and rehabilitated countless more, is one of my favorite non-profit groups too. And yes, it's true: Most of the group's so-called "Habitat ReStores" sell a variety of construction and home-improvement items, from lumber and paint to furniture and appliances.

    Items sold at the ReStores are typically donated by local retailers, builders, contractors and individuals - which allows Habitat to sell the items at a deep discount to what you would normally pay. Money from the sales is used to build or rehab even more homes, usually in the same general area where the stores are located.

    Some of the items at the stores are brand-new, while others are used but in good condition. Donations come in often but on an unscheduled basis, which means the items you want might not be available today but that you could find a large selection of them a week or two from now.

    The best way to find the nearest ReStore is to visit Habitat for Humanity's internet web site ( and then enter your ZIP code in the box marked "Search for Affiliates/ReStores." Or, you can contact the nearest office of Habitat and ask for the phone number of the store that is closest to you.

    * * *

    DEAR MR. MYERS: My wife and I have been interviewing several real estate agents to sell our home. Two of the agents want a 90-day sale agreement, another wants a four-month deal, and two others say that they won't market our property unless we sign a contract for six months! How long should a typical sales agreement last?

    ANSWER: I usually tell sellers to insist on a 90-day listing contract. That's typically enough time for a good agent to market the property effectively, but also allows the seller to release the salesperson without paying a commission if the agent hasn't found a buyer when the three-month time frame is up.

    Of course, sales in many parts of the country remain slow. Although I would still never sign a six-month agreement with an agent, might consider a four-month term if sales in my particular area were softening and I was unusually impressed with the agent's skills and proposed marketing plan.

    With sales cooling as the market heads into its usual autumn and winter doldrums, even some of the best agents need a few extra weeks to properly market a home and then shepherd the deal through to closing day

    * * *

    DEAR MR. MYERS: I want to buy my first house, so I am following your recent advice to have the property inspected by a professional. What does a professional inspector look for?

    ANSWER: According to the American Society of Home Inspectors - a trade association that represents more than 3,000 certified inspectors across the nation - a typical inspector's report should cover the condition of the home's heating system, its central air-conditioning system, and its insulation.

    The inspector should also review the roof, the home's attic, all of its walls, the windows and doors, and its foundation and basement too.

    You can find more information at the association's web site,

    Our booklet, "Straight Talk about Living Trusts," explains how even low- and middle-income homeowners can now reap the same benefits that creating an inexpensive trust once provided only to the wealthiest families. For a copy, send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to D. Myers/Trust, P.O. Box 4405, Culver City, CA 90231-4405. Net proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross. Send questions to that same address, and we'll try to respond in a future column.

    Read more:
    ABOUT REAL ESTATE: How to get home-improvement items on the 'cheap' - Sarasota Herald-Tribune

    In Beetlejuice, Haunting Is Another Kind of Quarantine – - April 22, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Geffen/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock


    "I'm just so glad we're spending our vacation at home," newlywed Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) declares at the beginning of Tim Burton's 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice. She means it, too. This isn't someone who's making the best of a bad situation: She likes the house she shares with Adam (Alec Baldwin); she's happy with the way they've decorated it; she seems to be really into cleaning; and there's a model of the town they live in sitting in the attic waiting to be tinkered with. The Maitlands have what so many of us wish for: the time and space to sit around the house, pursuing little side projects and hanging out with a significant other. Or, I should say, they have what so many of us wished for. But things look different on the other side.

    After dying in an accident, the Maitlands find themselves haunting their home. Though it takes a moment to get used to, it's not all that different from vacation mode. There are small issuesBarbara can't use the vacuum cleaner because it's in the garage, and any time they step out of the house they fall into a Dali-esque purgatorybut for the most part, it's fine. They adjust to the new normal. That is, until the house gets sold to the Deetzes, New Yorkers fleeing the city who have big plans for remodeling. The arrival of the home's new owners, coupled with the realization that they'll be haunting their home for 125 years, troubles the deceased couple's extended vacation. But Beetlejuice isn't a cautionary tale about being careful (or at least specific) about what you wish for. The real problem posed by the film comes down to process: To get the Deetzes out, the Maitlands have to learn new skills, follow a complex set of rules for the recently deceased, and navigate a labyrinthine afterlife casework system. Dying is no big deal; it's the bureaucracy that'll kill you.

    Beetlejuice consistently surprises with what it chooses to emphasize and what it treats as commonplace. The film repeatedly makes the point that death is the least strange aspect of the Maitlands' journey. For instance, Burton gives the film's idyllic set-up a foreboding gloss: In the opening moments, as the camera soars over the town, the streets are completely empty. It looks like Adam's modelor like Dustin Hoffman and the crew from Outbreak already came through. Seconds later, a spider climbs across buildings on the actual model, and Adam gently plucks it from the structure, coos at it amiablyand throws it out the window. I don't know anything about spiders that wasn't covered in Charlotte's Web, but this seems a bit intense.

    Delia Deetz (Catherine O'Hara), meanwhile, has very little trouble adjusting to the idea that there are ghosts in the house, but she simply cannot abide their taste. "They're in there?" she asks when her goth stepdaughter Lydia (Winona Rider) tells her the Maitlands are in the attic. "They must live like animals!" Minutes later she's reminding Lydia of a life lesson that seems to precede their extraordinary circumstances: "You have got to take the upper hand in all situations, or peoplewhether they're dead or alivewill walk all over you." The key to navigating the world in Beetlejuice, then, is to know the rulesor make up your own. And that's especially clear with the introduction of the titular character (Michael Keaton), who must be invoked three times to be released. He's not vanquished until Barbara decides she's can, in fact, go into the Dali desert and ride a sandsnake into the house. To best the bureaucratic strangeness of life and afterlife, you have to know when to follow the rules and when to rely on your own inventiveness.

    Geffen/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

    As is the case with many horror-comedies (including Death Becomes Her, which we revisited earlier this week), piercing the veil between life and death has an effect not unlike pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz: it exposes the small but consequential untruths we've glommed onto because we think we need them to survive. In Beetlejuice, one untruth is that the living know how to live. When Adam asks Lydia how she's able to see dead people, she replies that she's read the whole Handbook for the Recently Deceased. "It says, 'Live people ignore the strange and unusual.'" The Deetzes are presented as the otherworldly intruders in the home, rather than the ghosts who walk the halls. In this world, it's the living who are haunting their own lives.

    The opportunity presented by the filmand by the Maitlands' staycation, to which they happily returnis the chance to pay attention to the strange and unusual, and to treat it like a part of the fabric of every day: to be present in the strangeness, even while absent from lifemetaphysically or otherwise.

    Read more from the original source:
    In Beetlejuice, Haunting Is Another Kind of Quarantine -

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