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Autumn is a Great Time to Landscape, Remodel
By Phillip B. Burum
Autumn is here and while much of the nation braces for a major change in the weather as we move from the warmer months to the colder ones, homeowners here in the Baldy View Region (which encompasses the eastern portion of Los Angeles and all of San Bernardino counties) enjoy the luxury of a few extra months in which to landscape and make home improvements. However, with that advantage of extra months, homeowners need to factor in changing weather to get the most from their improvements.
If you will be doing any remodeling or landscaping over the coming autumn months, start by paying particular attention to weather forecasts on sites such as www.weatherchannel.com and remember that while our unique Santa Ana conditions may bring us the cleanest air we will experience throughout the year, Santa Ana winds can create challenges for exteriors and landscapes.
Especially for major remodeling projects in older homes, a good way to save time upfront is to have a professional inspect thoroughly for pre-existing conditions such as termite damage, mold, lead paint, asbestos or rot. Dealing with these issues before a project commences will greatly reduce delays, costs and headaches.
Whether removing trees or adding rooms, the first rule of any major improvements is to check with your city, county or homeowner’s association (HOA). Too often homeowners find their projects stymied by recent or unexpected rules or regulations, so secure all the necessary permits and approvals at the earliest possible point in the project. Bear in mind that while permitting and inspections by these authorities can also create delays and generate additional costs, autumn is prime time for cold and flu season and illness can wreak havoc on government staffs as well as landscapers or remodelers. Always budget a few extra days into your timeframe.
Damp, humid, cold and wet weather all exercise a great effect on exterior work – particularly with paint, concrete and putty. While professional remodelers will generally budget for inclement weather in their schedules, too often the delays caused by rain are overlooked by do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Paint needs dry surfaces and drying time while concrete needs time to cure, so remember to always budget a few extra days into your schedule as a cushion.
When dealing with professional remodelers, remember they will be dealing with lead times and back orders when it comes to products such as coatings, fixtures, tile and other items. Make sure to budget for these possible delays-many of which can be minimized by ordering all your selections at the beginning of the project.
When working with a contractor, one of the terms you will encounter is ‘punch list’. This is a list of items within a project that is prepared by the owner or his representative and confirmed by the contractor. These are items which remain to be replaced or completed in accordance with the requirements of the contract for construction at the time of substantial completion. That means you will probably encounter additional items which will need to be fixed or added before the project is finished. Make sure time to complete the punch list is incorporated into any agreements you have and prepare for any changes that could require additional permits.
Quality subcontractors such as cabinetmakers, painters, plumbers or others are in high demand at any time of year. Make sure your contractor has developed good long-term relationships with subcontractors.
Remember, the median age of owner-occupied homes in California is about 50 years, so there is a considerable demand for homeowners to protect their investments with remodeling, renovations and the latest in landscaping approaches and techniques to make their homes more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, comfortable and valuable. Take advantage of these extra months to make your investment in your home the best that it can be.
Because the home is for most Americans the biggest and best investment they will ever make, lavish the same care on improving your home as you would any major investment and it will benefit you in the long run.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.