3 Upgrades That Give a Major Boost to Your Home’s Value

Investing in home improvement projects creates value in two key ways: first, it provides for personal enjoyment while you live there and then, if the renovation is done well, it should increase the future resale value.

If you’re looking to make an upgrade that will reap significant returns down the road, focusing on kitchens, windows, and bathrooms are always worth considering. Here’s why:

Kitchen upgrades

For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where families gather and where guests tend to congregate. Kitchen remodels can also be expensive and disruptive to daily life, which is all the more reason future homebuyers will appreciate it – by making the kitchen the focus of your home improvement project, you’ve done the dirty work for them! Fresh, modernized kitchens consistently do well for resale, and if done right, it’s possible to recoup nearly all or more of your investment.

Window replacement

Replacing old, inefficient windows are important value-adds to homes regardless of your location. In Miami Dade County, however, even more important is replacing outdated standard windows with ultra-durable impact windows. Not only do these windows offer superior protection from storm damage, they also save homeowners money on insurance premiums and energy costs.

Bathroom remodels

Upgrading bathrooms also bring a strong return on investment when done tastefully. Even small upgrades like replacing a vanity or modernizing hardware, paint, or tiling can make a big impact. Quality executed bathroom renovations have the ability to transform your home and your experience within your home.

As you choose to make improvements to your Miami home, consider Bigfoot Construction for the job. We’ll meet with you to discuss your plans and what you want to achieve with your renovation. After the consultation, finalized design plans, and the necessary permits have been obtained, we’ll get to work with efficient and quality workmanship. Call us today at 305-790-1722 to learn more about how we can help with your specific project needs.

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Installing Impact Windows

In Florida, what might feel like the calm before the storm can really be the storm before the calm for those rushing to get impact windows installed before hurricane season arrives. But in their haste to install impact windows in their South Florida home, common mistakes can be made. Make sure you take a breath now so you can avoid these three common installation mistakes that many homeowners succumb to.

Forgetting to secure a permit when installing impact windows

Building codes and permitting requirements vary from city to city and county to county. Before you install new impact windows in your home, it’s important to understand the permitting and approval process specific to your location. Your residential contractor will be a valuable resource in helping you navigate this process. In fact, an experienced contractor will simply take care of it for you, but it is still wise to understand the process.

Going the DIY route or hiring an inexperienced impact window installer

While you might feel emboldened by a recent DIY home improvement project, installing impact windows is not a job to be taken lightly (nor is it a light job – impact windows are heavy!). Proper installation requires precision every step of the way – from accurate measurements to exact care with secure installation. This is one job that should only be entrusted to an experienced impact window installer.

Relying on cost as your primary decision factor

The bottom line can be hard to get past when making a decision about something like an impact window investment, but relying on cost as your sole decision factor should be avoided whenever possible. Consider things like the overall aesthetic and ease of use. While you might not think they’re a big deal now, it may be worth paying a little more now to get the right windows than decide to replace the entire windows a few years down the road.

Make sure your impact windows are installed correctly and efficiently. Give us a call today at 305-790-1722 to get started.

How Impact Windows Can Reduce Homeowners Insurance Premiums

Homeowners insurance in Florida is expensive – among the most expensive in the nation to be exact. Our geography makes us susceptible to home damage caused by major windstorms and hurricane force. And while damage caused by Mother Nature is out of our control, one thing that is in our control is what we do about protecting our home and keeping more money in our wallets.

Fortunately, the state of Florida issued legislation in 2002 mandating insurance companies to offer homeowners discounts on their insurance premiums if they install features that reduce damage and loss from wind storms. This includes installing things like impact windows and doors and are now one of the best ways to reduce homeowners insurance premiums.

Where to Start to Reduce Homeowners Insurance

In order to apply for a homeowners insurance discount or credit, it’s best to contact your insurance company prior to installing your impact windows so you understand what specific requirements you’ll need to meet in order to qualify for discounts as they can vary from company to company.

Then, start your research. Interview potential impact window installers by asking them these three important questions and calculate how much you can save with new impact windows. To estimate your potential savings, you can use the Florida Wind Insurance Savings Calculator.

As an added benefit, you’ll also save money on your energy costs as well as add immediate value to your home. What’s more, you won’t have to deal with costly clean up and disaster recovery after a damaging storm comes through.

Start Saving Today

Once installed, your residential contractor will help ensure that you have all the proper documentation, certification, and forms required by your insurance company to begin saving money.

At BigFoot Construction, we specialize in installing impact windows that provide structural protection in the event of a hurricane or other damaging winds as well as help reduce costs. Get in touch with us today at 305-790-1722 if you have questions about installing impact windows in your Miami home.

What to Look for When Hiring a Residential Contractor

4 Things to Look for Before You Hire a Residential Contractor

Homeownership offers exciting opportunities to create your own dream home – whether that’s by building it from the ground up or by renovating an existing property so it better suits your vision and needs. If you find yourself looking for a residential contractor for a renovation or addition to your home, it’s important to do your homework ahead of time so you save yourself headaches and added expense down the road.

When hiring a residential contractor in South Florida, be sure you feel completely confident about these four things:

The Residential Contractor’s Background, Experience and Credentials

Make sure the person you hire has experience with the type of residential remodeling project you are hiring for and get in touch with references to ask about the quality of work and service the contractor provided. It’s also imperative that your residential contractor is licensed and registered and carries the appropriate insurance. If the contractor is not credentialed, he or she will not be able to pull the necessary permits to get your job done.

The Depth of the Residential Contractor’s Bid

As you gather a few bids, look for similarities and differences among them and trust your instincts if somethings seems off. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions, and be wary of any low-ball offers. As the adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you want to dive deeper into it, ask the contractors to go into more detail about their bid – why are they saying this is how much it will cost? What are they taking into account? Compare notes and you’ll often see why two bids are coming in with different numbers — and why the higher bid on paper may actually have a lower cost when your project is completed.

All the Intangibles

These are things that can’t be put as a line-item on a bid – do you deem the contractor responsible and reliable? How is their communication style and does it jibe with yours? Depending on your home’s project, you will likely be spending a lot of time with the contractor you select. You want to be sure you’ll work well with the person and that your expectations will be met.

The Contract’s Fine Print

Before committing to a contractor, make sure you fully understand the contract. What are the payment terms, timeline, and project schedule? What materials and fixtures will be used? This is again your opportunity to ask questions — and don’t be afraid to ask every single one. If they don’t take the time to answer your questions now, are you comfortable that they will answer it when your bathroom’s walls have been ripped out? Once you’ve got the details ironed out in the contract, things will move pretty quickly.

Have any specific questions you’d like answered (or like a second opinion on a project you’re planning right now)? Feel free to contact us.

 

How Much Can You Save by Installing Impact Windows in Your Home?

Financial considerations can be one driving force when making the decision to switch to impact windows. After all, it can be expensive to install such durable windows that are able to withstand winds up to 200 mph. But the upfront investment can be worth it in terms of the long-term financial savings you could reap by installing impact windows in your South Florida home — you just have to look at the different ways impact windows save money.

And when it comes to the dollars and cents of a project, the standard points are usually brought up — it increases the value of your home for resale, your home will sell faster, et cetera. And while those are often true (though you should speak to a realtor before quantifying how it will affect your home’s value), there are more tangible cost savings that you’ll see right away.

How Impact Windows Save Money:

Reduced homeowners insurance premiums

The state of Florida requires insurance companies to provide discounts, credits or other rate differentials for homes that utilize construction techniques to reduce damage and loss from wind storms. This includes things like installing impact windows. To estimate your potential savings, you can use the Florida Wind Insurance Savings Calculator.

Reduced energy costs

Impact windows are a sustainable option that help lower your energy bills. Keep your home more comfortable without paying high costs to run your air conditioner nonstop. Impact windows offer a protective barrier to help keep heat out and cooler air in and save you hundreds of dollars each year. They also offer superior UV protection, which means your home’s interior will be better protected from sun damage.

Increased resale value

(We had to include it). Not only can installing new impact windows can increase the value of your home, you’ll also very likely recoup most of your investment if you decide to sell. The added convenience and safety features are big selling points to potential buyers.

Saving money (and improving safety!) are big reasons to install impact windows, and with options like Ygrene financing, it can be easy to start saving today. If you have questions about impact windows, get in touch with us at 305-790-1722.

 

See the Difference: Side-by-Side Comparison of Impact vs. Standard Windows

Whether or not you have impact windows installed in your home, you’ve likely heard about some of the benefits, but do you really understand the impact windows versus standard windows debate? Before making a decision to install impact windows in your home, it’s helpful see a side-by-side comparison to understand the similarities and differences between the two.

Impact Windows

 

Standard Windows
·       Multi-layered glass with a PVB or EVA interlayer sealed in between offer incomparable protection against wind damage and intruders. ·       Standard glass means windows break more easily from wind debris or intruders.

·       Windows can become damaged or warp from routine wear and tear over time.

·       No storm shutters needed. ·       Hurricane shutters and panels are required to protect your home from strong winds.

·       Storm shutters require seasonal installation and storage, which can also be time-consuming and costly.

·       Improved insulation and energy efficiency means it costs less to cool and heat your home.

 

·       Minimal UV protection to your home and its interior.
·       Indestructible impact windows prevent sudden air pressure changes caused by blown out doors or windows, which can lead to roofs being blown off or walls collapsing. ·       Broken windows can send flying shards of glass in all directions as well as lead to sudden air pressure changes in the home.
·       Requires a larger upfront investment ·       More affordable upfront costs
·       Savings on homeowners insurance – Homes with impact windows often qualify for significant wind mitigation discounts on their premiums.
·       Reduced noise pollution

Making the choice to install impact windows versus standard windows often comes down to several factors, including costs, convenience, and overall appearance. Within these broad categories are many personal decisions each individual home owner has to make. For example, how much time and effort do you have to deal with storm shutters on that second story? You might also think through how installing impact windows might affect your home’s resale value.

If you have questions about the difference between impact windows versus standard windows and what might be best for you Miami home, give us a call at 305-790-1722.

Get a Loan Immediately to Install Impact Windows

How Ygrene Financing Can Help You Start Saving Money Today

Living in South Florida means we are spoiled by a lot of great things – warm weather, plenty of sunshine, accessible beaches – but it also means we have to pay a premium for many of those same perks. Our energy bills are higher because our air conditioning units have to work harder to keep our homes cool, and our homeowners insurance premiums are expensive because of the increased risk of damage caused by flooding and hurricane winds…which is why many people install impact windows.

Here’s the bad news: impact windows are expensive (but there are countless reasons to do so. Here are 5 of them). The good news is that because we live in Florida, many residents can qualify for low-cost, long-term financing when making energy-efficient improvements to their home – like when they install impact windows.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)-eligible home improvement projects include installing things like impact windows and doors, high-efficiency lighting and appliances, solar systems, and more. A full list of eligible improvements can be found on Ygrene’s site.

Savings resulting from Ygrene financing can be seen right away in the form of reduced energy bills and insurance premiums (often in the form of wind mitigation discounts). Here are a few other things to know about PACE financing:

  • No minimum FICO score is required. Eligibility is assessed based on the homeowner’s equity, among other factors.
  • Financing is assessed through your property tax bill and is added as a new line item on your annual tax bill.
  • Given its unique nature, this type of loan is tied to your property, and, in some cases, the payment may be transferred to a new owner if you decide to sell.

If you’re looking to start saving money today and live more sustainably, research your options and evaluate the various financing opportunities that may be available to you. In many cases, Ygrene financing may offer just the right solution for your needs.

When you’re ready to make improvements to your home – no matter how big or small, give us a call at 305-790-1722.

Questions-Impact-Windows

Top 3 Questions to Ask Your Impact Window Installer

Installing impact windows in your Miami home is a smart choice when it comes to protecting your property from damaging hurricane winds and storm debris. Before moving forward with installation, however, it’s important to give the same thought and consideration that you put into choosing the windows into deciding who you will hire to do the installing for you.

Because installing impact windows is a significant investment, you want to be sure it is done right by a quality professional. Here are the top three questions you should ask your Miami impact window installer.

How much will it cost to have impact windows installed?

While cost is an important consideration when selecting an impact window installer, it’s more important to understand what those costs include. For example, will your installer remove the old windows and other debris? How about handling any remaining interior and exterior trim or finishes? Will they be in charge of the permitting process? Be sure you understand what level of service you will be receiving when comparing the overall cost of impact window installation.

How long will it take to install impact windows?

Because window replacements can have an impact on your daily life, you’ll want to be sure you have a clear idea of the installation timeline. The number of windows you install will naturally affect the timeline, but so too may weather or other factors. Ask your window installer for a detailed plan as well as clarify if you need to be present during installation.

How much experience do you have as an impact window installer?

Experience cannot be undervalued when it comes to installing impact windows in South Florida. Ask questions about a window installer’s previous work, look at examples of their past work, and ask for references. It’s also important to ask if they are licensed.

Make sure your windows are installed correctly by our experienced team at Bigfoot Construction. Give us a call today at 305-790-1722 to discuss installing impact windows in your Miami home.

 

 

 

bathroom-remodel-miami

Where to Start When Upgrading Your Bathroom

A bathroom remodel is one of the biggest home remodeling projects that can give a serious boost to your home’s value (besides impact windows of course). Whether you choose to make just a subtle change or are looking for a complete transformation, the scope of your bathroom upgrade will influence where you start when taking on the hard work. Regardless of scope, however, there are a few universal places to begin when choosing to complete a bathroom renovation (and don’t forget to ask your Contractor these questions).

Step 1 for a Bathroom Remodel: Set your budget

Before heading into any remodeling project, it’s wise to crunch the numbers and have a full understanding of your budget before committing to any project. Your budget will guide you in everything from the big decisions of what to include in your project’s scope and design to making smaller decisions on the finishing touches and any extras you may decide to include.

Step 2: Find inspiration for your space

Your space and how you use it should be front and center when working through new plan designs for your bathroom, and the room itself makes a difference. For example, are you remodeling a master bath or a shared family bathroom? Though both are bathrooms, they may be used in different ways.

Consider the feelings you want your new space to evoke as much as the function you want it to serve when deciding on the vision you have for your new bathroom. Then it’s a good idea to speak to an architect. They are an essential component to bringing any bathroom renovation to life and you will be much happier that you did a few years after the renovation is complete.

Step 3: Finalize your plans and get started

At this point, make sure your contractor is on board with your vision and that you have a detailed plan for how the work will get done. You’ll want to ensure that your residential contractor is comfortable securing the necessary permits for the job and has qualified subcontractors available if the job requires specialized labor.

Taking on a bathroom remodel can change the feeling in – and the value of –  your entire house. If you’re ready to transform your bathroom, get in touch with us at 305-790-1722 to learn how we can help you make the impact you want with your Miami bathroom renovation.

questions-for-your-contractor

Be Sure to Ask Your Contractor These Questions

Undertaking a new build or residential remodeling project is a big emotional and financial investment. Not only are you committing to a significant structural change in your home, you are also entrusting the project to someone else. Before you move forward with your renovation project, there are certain questions for your contractor that need to be answered so you feel peace of mind going into such a big project. From our experience renovating homes across Miami-Dade County, make sure to ask your Contractor these three questions before you hire them:

Questions for your Contractor:

What is the schedule and timeline for our project?

Communicating about schedules and timelines is one of the most important questions for your contractor during a residential remodeling job. How your contractor answers this question will give you a good indication of where they see your project fitting with others they may be working on at the moment as well as how they see your project progressing from start to finish. A thorough schedule is essential for ensuring all tasks are outlined and that nothing gets missed. It also helps you see the big picture through the eyes of your contractor, which is useful for making sure you’re on the same page. If they shrug and say, ‘oh, it’ll take about three weeks,’ without any details, make sure to ask for a more thorough timeline.

Similarly, you should ask how they prefer to communicate about any decisions that need to be made along the way and how change orders will be handled. You want to feel confident that you will be able to get in touch with your contractor quickly, and that they will reciprocate when necessary.

Do you foresee any challenges or concerns about the project?

Home renovation shows don’t get much right, but one thing they do accurately portray is how common it is for unexpected issues to arise. While most can’t be predicted, experienced residential contractors have hunches about certain projects based on either the home, project type, or other factors. Rather than going down one path only to have to change course mid-way through, talk through any possible concerns and worst-case scenarios ahead of time so you have a better understanding of potential outcomes and are prepared to deal with them if and when they arise. This is one of the questions for your contractor that need a honest and forthright response; if you aren’t satisfied with their answer, it’s time to consider another contractor.

How will my property be protected?

Residential remodeling projects by their very nature can be invasive on a person’s home life. There will be dust and trash and paint, hammering, shaking and jostling. Much of this can’t be avoided. What can be avoided, however, is damage to your existing property. Make sure the contracting team you hire has a solid plan for protecting your property and sealing off the work zone as necessary (especially for projects that include impact windows). You should also ask them about how they clean up at the end of every work day.

As you interview potential contractors for your residential project, keep these questions in mind, and give us a call at 305-790-1722 if you want any more tips to make sure that your home renovation stays on schedule and on budget.