Creating the Perfect Porch

For many homes, the porch is one of the most overlooked of all spaces.  One of the main reasons for this is because most people don’t really take the time to spend outside on the porch. Unless you are lucky to have one that is already fully finished, chances are you probably have not spent much time enjoying yours. However, it does not have to stay that way and depending on your situation this could be a great time to begin considering porch improvements that allow you to enjoy it.


In this article we will give you some ideas and suggestions on creating a porch that you want to make time to enjoy.  As always remember to do your research when you are considering a residential contractor especially when it comes to exterior home improvements that affect the curb appeal of your home.


10 Unique ideas for transforming your porch


Create an area of transition

Remember the porch is part of the entry of your home and therefore you should consider the porch as a transition from the outside to the inside of your home.  The spaces should flow and offer a natural transition between the interior and exterior.


Use it to let the light in

Be sure to add extra large windows to allow more light to shine into your home from the porch. Having temporary sun blocking helps for the times that you are sitting out however letting the natural sunlight in to the home when the porch is not in use is important as well.


Consider adding a fireplace

Living in an area that gets cooler at times, you may want to consider having a fireplace put in on the porch to add a little extra comfort. There are a number of different fireplace options to choose from, you are likely to fire something that fits.


Establish a plan before getting started

Before a professional contractor gets started with any changes or serious remodeling be sure that all of your plans are put down on paper so that there is a visual of what the outcome will look like.


A back porch extends your living space

As the front porch welcomes you into a home, a back porch is seen as an extension of interior and you should treat it as such when considering your remodeling plans. A screened in back porch is even better as it helps prevent insect attacks.


Be sure that your porch idea fits in with the exterior of your house

When planning the porch take into consideration the rest of the exterior of the house as not to change it too much. Porch spaces should be a natural extension of the interior of your home.


Go a little crazy with a back porch

Depending on the location of your home, you might consider how a back porch would fit with the outside of the back of your home. Consider adding extra lighting, color, and seating.  Make the space comfortable, cozy, and inviting for friends to enjoy.


Front porches should be welcoming

Since the porch is at the front of your home and is where your front entry door is, your porch should be designed in a way that is welcoming to everyone who arrives. Curb appeal is everything when it comes to home ownership!


Use the space wisely

Unless you are considering a major remodel and adding extra square footage to the porch space, you want to be sure that you consider the space limitation with all of your plans.


The devil is in the details

When finishing up the decor of your porch, be sure that you pay close attention to the details. Adding in small finishing touches can add a big punch in the overall design.


Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.


Common Mistakes That Destroy Your Home’s Value

Making the right decisions for your home is paramount to its resale value. Inevitably, personal taste has a way of wriggling its way in, which can cause the value of the house to plummet. On the other hand, there are outside forces completely out of your control that can also wreak havoc when it comes to putting your home up for sale. If your goal is to get the most bang for your home investment buck, avoid making these common mistakes that will destroy your home’s value.

1. Not treating those carpet stains

person cleaning a carpet

No one wants to buy a home with a dirty, stained carpet. | iStock/Getty Images

First impressions are everything, especially when potential buyers step foot into your home. Believe that those carpet stains that you have grown accustomed to seeing will stand out like a sore thumb. Typically, an interested buyer will demand that some kind of allowance be provided to replace the carpet or the seller come down on the asking price. In order to avoid this predicament, actively work to remove stains as soon as they happen. This way, you’ll prevent them from setting.

Next: Tile grout

2. Ignoring tile grout

Cleaning shower or bathroom grout with a scrub brush

Cleaning grout is no fun, but it’s important. | Eike Leppert/iStock/Getty Images

Easily one of the most time-consuming household chores is cleaning and scrubbing tile grout. Nevertheless, it is a necessity if you plan on listing your home for sale. On its own, grout is porous, soaking up whatever comes its way. In the kitchen, grease can become embedded, sometimes discoloring it permanently. In the bathroom, the humidity can latch on to the grout, creating visible mildew and mold that becomes nearly impossible to reverse. Stay diligent to clean it as often as possible.

Next: HVAC system

3. Forgetting to pamper your HVAC system

This picture shows an AC heat pump unit outside of a home.

Don’t neglect your HVAC system. | iStock/Getty Images

Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, better known as the HVAC system, is directly linked to the cost of its monthly utilities. And while many homeowners are vigilant when it comes to the upkeep of the system, others tend to neglect it altogether. Regularly cleaning the system helps to keep utility bills lower, which is a very important piece of the home buying puzzle. Potential buyers do not want to sign up for a home that has a history of high utility bills.

Next: Cleaning habits 

4. Using harsh cleaners on countertops

Cleaning counter

Keep your high-end countertops in good shape. | iStock/Getty Images

If you splurged on granite, quartz, or marble countertops when you remodeled your kitchen,  you immediately increased your home’s resale value. Good on you. Make sure that you don’t reverse those money-making endeavors by lazily cleaning them. Vinegar-based cleaners will wreak havoc on natural countertops, eventually causing them to become dull and pitted. Stick to store-bought cleaners or do your research before concocting something on your own.

Next: Wood paneling

5. Failing to remove the wood paneling

Square wall light on brown wood paneling

Wood paneling immediately dates your home. | Tods0859/iStock/Getty Images

During the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, wood paneling was all the rage, even though the jury is still out on why. Regardless, it has to come down if you want to increase your home’s resale value, even if it’s only located only in the basement. A potential buyer will be far more interested in the idea of purchasing the house if they do not have to remove the paneling themselves.

Next: Curb appeal 

6. Forgetting about the importance of curb appeal

Beautiful villa

Don’t underestimate the importance of curb appeal. | Hikesterson/iStock/Getty Images

How is the curb appeal of your home? Has the grass been freshly mowed, the flower beds weeded, and leaves raked from the ground? How about a fresh coat of exterior paint? Every aspect of your home’s curb appeal is crucial. Sure, if you are listing the home for a screaming deal, a buyer may be willing to put in some elbow grease for a fixer-upper. But if you put that elbow grease in yourself, you’ll be able to list the home for thousands more.

Next: Koi ponds

7. Installing that koi pond

Colored koi carp in the national Japanese park. Himeji, Japan

Chances are, the new homeowners won’t want to maintain your koi pond | Sergdid/iStock/Getty Images

Koi ponds, along with other decorate fountains and water features, offer a sense of relaxation for some homeowners. For others, they can be a very time-consuming and unnecessary feature to maintain. If you feel strongly about keeping the koi pond intact throughout the selling process, by, all means make sure that it is extremely clean and not chock full of algae.

Next: Bright paint colors 

8. Wildly bright paint colors

Bedroom with purple bed, walls and lamps

Crazy paint colors can be a big turnoff. | archideaphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Homeowners understandably want to get creative with the paint colors, slathering the walls in the brightest paint colors they can get their hands on. Here’s the thing: Those dense colors come across as overwhelming to potential buyers. While you may see sunshine and rainbows, the buyer sees days and days of priming and repainting each room. Consider repainting with more neutral, soothing colors before putting up the for sale sign.

Next: Remodels 

9. Getting carried away with the bathroom and kitchen remodel

Marble countertop

Over-the-top remodels can actually make it harder to sell your home for the price you want. | hikesterson/getty Images

Don’t get me wrong, freshly remodeled kitchens and bathrooms will almost always increase the selling price of your home, but when it comes to the return on investment, you’re unlikely to reap what you sowed. For 2018, homeowners average around $62,000 for a kitchen remodel, but only manage to pocket around $40,000 when it comes to resale value. The same rules apply to bathroom remodels. Instead of going all out, go for a middle-of-the-road remodel.

Next: Closets

10. Not enough closets

Full closet

Whatever you do, keep the closets | ronstik/Getty Images

Homeowners get wild hairs when it comes to remodeling a room, albeit a bathroom or an extension of a master suite. A good rule of thumb, though, is to keep the closets at all costs. Michele Silverman Bedell told MarketWatch that not only does removing closets damage a home’s value but that “People need closets. They’ll walk in and count the number of closets per room.” Keep the closets.

Next: Garage conversions

11. Garage conversions

Two wooden car garage

Losing the garage space will make your home less appealing to some buyers. | Marcin Leszczuk/iStock/Getty Images

A well-organized garage is a welcomed upgrade to nearly every potential buyer, but a garage-turned-gym conversion does not appeal to the masses. For the most part, people are just wanting to use a garage exactly how it was designed to be used — parking the car and storing items. If you are considering any sort of garage remodel, do so with the intention of creating usable, organized storage solutions for the next owner.

Next: Pools and hot tubs 

12. Swimming pools and hot tubs

Oval swimming pool in garden

Swimming pools are fun, but they are costly to maintain. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

If you are grappling with the idea of installing a swimming pool or purchasing a hot tub, think long and hard about that decision. Pools are crazy expensive to install, so the return on investment is lacking. But the real kicker is that potential buyers view pools as a big hassle when it comes to the upkeep. Plus, many parents with very small children view pools as hazardous. Similar rules apply for hot tubs — they are pricey and take a lot of energy to maintain.

Next: Landscaping 

13. Over the top landscaping

Beautiful curb appeal of American house with stone trim

High-end landscaping translates into high-end maintenance. | irina88w/iStock/Getty Images

Everyone can agree that tasteful landscaping is a welcomed treat when searching for a home to buy. It’s the outlandish and lavish landscaping that is less appealing. Why? Well, high-end landscaping translates to high-maintenance, and most homeowners simply do not have time for all of that. Theodore Beasley of Landscaping London explains it well:

Costly landscaping decoration will not increase the value of your home, but rather increase the maintenance required for it. A potential buyer sees this, and it might turn into a concern. Fancy decorative additions that you find attractive are pretty much subjective, as well — including your personal DIY projects.

Next: Unpermitted upgrades 

14. Unpermitted additions and upgrades

Enclosed sunroom

An unpermitted addition is a huge headache for buyers.  | iStock/Getty Images

Transforming your basement into a revenue-producing rental unit is brilliant, however, doing so without proper permitting can create big issues when you choose to sell. An appraisal can turn sour if a permit was not involved, which can translate to difficulties receiving financing for a purchase.

Next: Crappy neighbors 

15. Crappy neighbors

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Unfortunately, you don’t have control over your neighbors.  | Swarmcatcher/iStock/Getty Images

Completely out of a seller’s control, yet still detrimental to a home’s value, is a bad neighbor. For instance, if a potential buyer arrives to walk through the home and is greeted by unsightly noises and behavior from the next door neighbor, it could be a reason to pull the plug. Furthermore, any registered sex offender living in the general vicinity can also put the kibosh on your home’s value.

Original Source:

Original Date: July 7 2018

Written by: Trisha Phillips

Leave It to The Pros! Why DIY Siding is a Bad Idea

Want to improve the exterior décor of your home? The best option to consider is new exterior siding. It will not only improve the exterior décor but improve the value of your home as well. Moreover, it will also improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Siding that is over forty years old should consider getting it replaced as part of an exterior home improvement plan. It will add freshness to the curb appeal of your home and improve its overall look.

Many people make the mistake of relying on DIY methods instead of leaving it to professionals when it comes to siding. It brings a lot of hassles, chaos, and of course, consumes a lot of time. Hence, it is recommended to leave it to the pros and get the process completed in a professional manner.

Here are some of the reasons why leaving siding to the professional is a better idea than doing it on your own.

Lack of Professionals

A prominent factor that goes in favor of the pros for exterior siding is that they are professionals. Hence, they can employ professional techniques to complete the whole siding project in an efficient manner. On the other hand, opting for DIY methods require so much time, effort, and energy. Despite spending hours or days in completing side project, you may still not get the desired results.

Lack of Expertise and Experience

Hiring professional exterior contractors for a siding project is also recommended since they have the required expertise and experience, which a layman doesn’t have. There is a vast difference in the result of an exterior siding project that is completed by a professional and a layman. This is due to the fact that professionals use their experience, skills, and extensive knowledge optimally to ensure the project is completed in a timely and professional manner.

No Access to Required Tools & Gears

An exterior siding project requires the use of certain tools and gears, which, generally a layman doesn’t have access to. They either have to buy or rent them that can burn a hole in their pockets. On the other hand, if you are relying on exterior contractors, there will be no such issue since the advanced tools and gears will be arranged by the professionals themselves.

Chances of Chaos, Mess, and Hassles

An exterior siding project can create a lot of hassles and chaos if not done properly. Furthermore, there will be a lot of mess left behind that will further add to the hassles. With hiring professionals, the whole process will be completed in a smooth and efficient manner. There will be no hassles, mess, and chaos at all.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Improving Your Home’s Exterior with Outdoor Masonry

Adding masonry to the exterior of your home will make it look one hundred percent better and it will increase your home’s value as well.  Hiring masonry contractors is the best way to get amazing results with masonry services, because they have the skills that are needed to do quality work quickly and efficiently.

One of the easiest ways to improve the exterior of your home with masonry is by replacing a basic concrete walkway with one constructed of stones or bricks.  A new walkway can be enhanced by adding stacked stone risers at the beginning or end, as it will define where a person needs to go when they want to enter your home.

Incorporating the stones or bricks from your walkway to your backyard is as easy as constructing a new patio.  The patio can be near your backdoor or a little further out in your yard.  The options are endless when it comes to patios, and you can still construct one even if you already have a deck off the back of your house.  A masonry patio will give you an additional sitting area while creating a new focal point in your yard.

Masonry companies can also create a phenomenal fire pit or fireplace for you out in your backyard.  A fire pit does not take that long to construct, and the price is cheaper than a fireplace.  However, a fireplace will create more of a focal point in your yard, while immensely improving the exterior of your home.

If you want to utilize your fireplace for cooking, you might want to consider having your masonry contractors construct a wood-fired oven instead.  That way, you can enjoy the warmth of the fire when it is cooler out, but you can cook delectable meals that include wood-fired pizzas and even cobblers for dessert.

To really make a lasting impression with your home, you may want to consider having your masonry contractors install stones or bricks on the exterior of your home.  This type of masonry will stand out much more than vinyl siding and it will create a luxurious look.  While real stone or bricks are fantastic options, you may want to consider faux stone if the type that you want is not available in your area.

There are quite a few masonry services options available to you and masonry companies will be able to assist you will choosing the ones that will complement your home the most.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

5 Proven Ways to Increase Home Value

Making your house more efficient, adding square footage, upgrading the kitchen or bath and installing smart-home technology can help increase its value.
5 Proven Ways to Increase Home Value
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Some factors that determine what a house is worth are out of your control, like its location and the popularity of that market. But you can keep up with repairs and make smart improvements, both proven ways to increase home value.

When thinking about how to increase home value, root your expectations in reality. Updates rarely recoup 100% of their cost, but they can make your family more comfortable and even help your home sell faster.

Whether you want to build equity or get top dollar when you sell, use the tips below to raise the value of your home.

1. Make it more attractive

Curb appeal — how your home looks from the street — is your first chance to make a good impression, says James Murrett, president of the Appraisal Institute, a professional association for real estate appraisers. A home’s exterior needs to make a prospective buyer want to walk through the front door.

Make sure existing landscaping is well-maintained. If your yard seems dull in comparison with your neighbors, consider planting flowers or repainting the front door.

Once the exterior looks good, focus on the kitchen and bathroom.

Once the exterior looks good, focus on the kitchen and bathroom. When these two rooms are outdated, they can keep a property from reaching its highest valuation, Lori Noble, a senior residential appraiser (SRA) in Charleston, West Virginia, said in an email.

And you don’t have to spring for heated towel racks or marble floors, either. A minor kitchen remodel recoups 81% of its cost in added value on average, versus 53% for an upscale kitchen remodel with stone countertops, custom cabinets and commercial-grade appliances, according to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Report.”The same is true for bathrooms; a midrange remodel — new flooring and a few updated fixtures — delivers a 70% return on investment, while an upscale bathroom remodel — heated flooring, custom cabinets and designer fixtures — sees 56% on average.

Find out how much your home is really worth

NerdWallet will monitor your home value and home equity so you don’t have to.

2. Make it low-maintenance

Since many home buyers worry about buying a home that will need constant maintenance, replacing a major component before putting it up for sale — like the furnace, water heater or even the roof — may calm fears of an emergency repair in the near future and help get you a higher price.

Improvements that make things easy to clean and maintain may also increase home value. Consider replacing easily stained carpet with hardwood floors or replace high-maintenance wood siding with vinyl siding.

3. Make it more efficient

Energy conservation features can have a significant impact on home value, depending on what area of the country you’re in, Joanne Theunissen, chair of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers, said in an email. Energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs) allow borrowers to take on additional debt to cover both the purchase of the home as well as energy-efficient upgrades. EEMs can also offer lower mortgage rates to increase purchasing power, according to

Energy conservation features can have a significant impact on home value, especially in places that experience extreme heat or cold.

Consider double-paned windows, enhanced attic insulation, LED lighting and efficient appliances as a way to increase home value and entice energy-conscious buyers.

If you’re willing to go bigger, put solar panels on the roof. Thirty-nine percent of agents surveyed recently by the National Association of Realtors said solar panels increased perceived property value. But since solar panels are a big financial and structural commitment, they only make sense if you’re hoping to increase value over the long term, not looking for a quick boost in resale value.

Schedule an assessment with a certified energy auditor or your utility company to determine where your home is wasting energy and which upgrades will save you the most money.

4. Make it bigger

“Square footage has a huge impact on value,” Angie Martin, director of operations at Hales and Associates in Overland Park, Kansas, said in an email. Price per square foot is one way she helps clients compare homes that are similar in style and upgrades.

Bigger homes often command higher values, and even if an appraiser doesn’t officially acknowledge the full value of added space, a buyer will likely notice.

Adding a room is the obvious way to make your house bigger, but you can also create additional living space by finishing the basement or building a deck.

5. Make it smarter

Safety-enhancing gadgets top the list of “smart” technologies buyers want in their new homes, according to a 2018 survey by Coldwell Banker. These safe and smart devices include thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks and lighting.

While smart tech doesn’t always increase home value, it does add appeal, Tavia Galvin, a licensed Realtor in Arvada, Colorado, said in an email.

Those who see themselves as “techies” are more likely to pay more for these items, Martin said.

Unlike replacing the roof or renovating the bathroom, you can usually install these devices yourself for about $1,000 or less.

How to pay for improvements that increase value

If you can’t pay for home improvements in cash, be sure to choose the right method of financing.

Credit card: Putting home renovations on a credit card may be OK as long as you’ll be able to pay off the entire balance in a short amount of time.
Personal loan: If you don’t have enough equity for a home equity loan or HELOC, consider a personal loan. The interest rate will be higher than home-equity-based financing, but lower than a credit card in most cases.
Home equity loan or line of credit: These second mortgages turn your home’s equity into easily accessible funds. Home equity loans pay out in a lump sum while home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are a line of financing you can borrow against over time. Both home equity loans and HELOCs have interest rates, fees, monthly payments and tax advantages to consider.
Cash-out refinance: If you’ve built up equity but don’t want a second mortgage, consider a cash-out refinance. You’ll take out a new home loan for more than your current mortgage balance and, after closing, the proceeds will be paid to you in cash. A cash-out refinance won’t make sense if your equity is limited or current mortgage rates are higher than your rate.
Explore all of these financing options with our home improvement financing calculator.

When Is It Time To Replace Your Homes Siding?

While the purpose of your home’s exterior siding is mainly to protect your structure against exposure to the elements, prevent heat loss, and for aesthetic purposes, some siding materials are more susceptible to deterioration over time. There are several different types of siding.  Most of which seem to be made from imitative material which after some time, fall into a state of disrepair and it’s important to know when to replace your siding when the time comes.

Moldy Siding

Mold is a fungus that produces harmful spores and grows and spreads rapidly especially in humid conditions. Skilled exterior contractors will tell you that your home’s exterior siding is the perfect breeding ground for mold and the best way to tell that you have this problem is through a musty smell including black or gray dirt-like spores on your siding. While some homeowners will opt for a professional power wash, hiring an experienced exterior contractor to replace your siding will ensure the mold is completely killed and your family’s risk of getting mold-related health concerns such as asthma is reduced.  It also means that you can consider hardier vinyl siding such as what you see from CertainTeed or fiber-cement from James Hardie.

Soaring Energy Bills

An unexplainable spike in your energy bills is a sure-fire sign of an exterior siding issue that needs to be addressed, window seals leaking, or installation issue.  Some older homes have very little insulation in their walls and heat loss could be attributed to the lack of insulation. Your siding can become worn due to excessive exposure to temperature fluctuations which can contribute to a loss in heat or air conditioning. This is when you will want to consult with exterior contractors who can help you determine whether your heat loss is as a result of lack of insulation or it’s your HVAC system that’s working double time to maintain adequate temperature levels in your home.

An exterior home improvement project can be a costly affair, however, if you’re an energy conscious homeowner, hiring a professional team of exterior contractors to replace your siding can be a crucial line of defense against keeping your home energy low and cost-efficient.

Physical Damage

Warping boards, rust, discoloration, cracking, splitting, are all clear visual signs of siding wear and tear. If you find that you need to repaint your exterior siding often to keep it looking fresh, it could mean that this is a sign of structural damage that needs an assessment from professional exterior contractors.  Thus resulting in an overall exterior siding replacement just to be on the safe side.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

The Roofing Industry Continues Its Upward Slope

Buttressed by new home construction and storm-related damage repairs, U.S. roofing contractors are now in their fourth consecutive year of improved profitability and double-digit increases in sales, according to data from Sageworks, a financial information company.

Sales among privately held roofing contractors have increased, on average, 14 percent in the 12 months ended May 1, according to Sageworks’ financial statement analysis. That’s on top of 13.5 percent and 15 percent sales growth in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

File photo – Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg News

The average profit margin for roofing contractors was 6 percent in the year ended May 1, topping a steady annual rise from 4 percent in the 12 months ended May 1, 2014.

Roofing contractors have experienced stronger sales growth in recent years, tracking pretty closely with sales increases among all types of construction firms in our database and outperforming private companies broadly when you look across all industries,” says Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman. “And like many sub-industries in the construction sector, roofing contractors don’t typically have the fattest margins. However, roofers have been able to improve their profitability in recent years.”

roofing contractors industry data Sageworks

Sales trends, roofing contractors

roofing contractors industry data Sageworks

Profitability trends, roofing contractors

Construction and roofing industry experts expect the primary factors that could cloud the outlook are rising material costs and ongoing labor shortages, but demand has been strong enough of late to eclipse those concerns.

“The construction industry is booming for our clients, and experts are predicting continued growth,” says Ed Lloyd, CPA, whose public accounting firm specializes in construction and business development. “This growth includes the commercial and residential markets for new and existing building. The growth and need for construction has improved the margins as contracts are able to increase their prices with the increased demand.”

Storm-driven activity and the more upbeat economy in 2017 promoted residential roofing and reroofing demand, and commercial roofers were especially bullish with their sales outlooks heading into 2018, according to Roofing Contractor’s 2017 State of the Industry Report.

However, with oil prices having risen and recent declarations of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, roofing contractors are likely to be dealing with more inflation this year for their supplies of shingles and gutter material.

“It is critical for the individuals estimating the projects to understand the change in material costs and reflect these changes in their pricing,” Lloyd said. Profit margins of around 6 percent can quickly be eaten up by a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum, so contractors should make sure they include a contingency clause in contracts to cover price increases in materials as they are passed along from their own suppliers. Lloyd said working with a business advisor who specializes in the industry can help business owners track forecasting, profitability and other management issues.

Roofing contractors are also facing higher worker costs in 2018, according to the Roofing Contractor’s report. Three quarters of residential roofers and nearly 90 percent of commercial roofing contractors surveyed said they are seeing increased labor costs.

Worker shortages are not only pressuring bottom lines but also top-line revenue. The National Roofing Contractors Association has called the chronic shortage of qualified workers the top limitation on roofing employers’ ability to grow their businesses. “Most contractors indicate they could be doing 10 to 20 percent or more work if they could only fill vacant positions, which translates into an estimated $3.6 billion to $7.2 billion in lost economic activity annually,” the association wrote in a letter earlier this year supporting immigration reform.

Through its cooperative data model, Sageworks collects and aggregates financial statements for private companies from accounting firms, banks and credit unions. Net profit margin has been adjusted to exclude taxes and include owner compensation in excess of their market-rate salaries. These adjustments are commonly made to private company financials in order to provide a more accurate picture of the companies’ operational performance.

Original Source:

Original Date: June 3 2018

Written By: Mary Ellen Biery

5 Tips on Why it Pays to Hire a Professional Contractor

Renovating a home can be daunting, but the entire process can be much easier if you hire a professional contractor to assist you.  After all, how much do you know about building codes, permits, and basic home remodeling projects?  Seriously though, there are literally dozens of reasons why you and everyone else should hire a professional contractor for home improvement projects of any size.

Here are 5 tips on why it pays to hire a professional contractor:

  1. Saves Time

Most home remodeling projects are completed on schedule when a professional contractor is involved, which means that you will have your home back to normal much sooner that you would if you didn’t hire someone.

  1. Connections

A professional contractor is going to have numerous connections that you do not have, and that means that they may be able to get their hands on the materials that you can’t find.  These connections can also help you save money, because they will receive discounts from the vendors that they work with often.

  1. Experience

A professional contractor has multiple years of home improvement experience, and that experience can benefit you immensely.  Your professional contractor can tell you immediately if something you want will work in the space or if you are wasting your money choosing one material over another.

  1. Safety

Professional contractors know all the codes for the home remodeling projects they work on, so you will never need to worry if your electrical, plumbing, or anything else will pass inspection.  This also ensures that you and your family are safe long after the work is completed.

  1. Saves Money

You are going to want to come in at or under budget for your home remodeling project, and while anyone can accomplish that feat, only professional contractors will do it properly.  Anyone who isn’t a professional may cut corners to make the numbers work out, but that is only going to cause you headaches in the future when half of the work needs to be done once again.  You will never need to worry about that happening when you hire a professional contractor, as they will get everything done correctly the first time.

These are the five best reasons why you need to hire a professional contractor for your next home improvement project.  If you have never hired a professional contractor before, you should do so for your next home remodeling project, as you will see a major difference in the results.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

The HGTV effect: Home-improvement shows bring high expectations for homebuyers

Chip and Joanna Gaines do it. So do Jonathan and Robert Scott and Hillary Farr and David Visentin.

All it takes is a few tools, some fresh paint, a few helpers and wham — in less time than it takes to air a few 30-second commercials, a kitchen is remodeled or a sleek wooden deck is built and the abutting landscape is transformed into an urban oasis.

And while these scenarios play out regularly on shows like “Love It or List It,” “Property Brothers,” “House Hunters” and “Fixer Upper,” there are some area real estate, building, and design professionals who believe that those who buy into HGTV (Home & Garden Television) reality shows like these need a reality check.

“It’s an interesting situation because HGTV home renovation shows have gotten homeowners more excited about doing renovations, but at the same time, there are fewer people with the skill sets necessary to do the work,” said Sheryle DeGirolamo, a broker and owner of Kensington Real Estate Brokerage in Attleboro and Boston.

Often times, expectations — especially those of younger, first-time homebuyers — are too high, she said.

“With some, the last house they lived in was their parents’ second or third house, and they are looking for a house like Mom and Dad’s,” DeGirolamo said. “They don’t think about the fact that their parents’ first home was probably nothing like the one they live in now.”

Patrice O’Neil, an agent at ReMax Real Estate Center in North Attleboro and Foxboro, said that she, too, has clients who “want everything ready to rock ’n’ roll in their first home” with must-haves like granite countertops, kitchen islands, hardwood floors and other pricey aesthetic amenities.

“It’s all tied to (home shows on) HGTV. People — including me — are hooked on it,” she admitted, joking that she’s even “given thought to moving to Waco, Texas,” home to Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” fame.

“Unfortunately, costs in Massachusetts are not what they are in Waco, and people here are often times very unrealistic about what things cost — especially repairs,” O’Neil said. “You can’t just knock down a wall, or install a kitchen island … it’s not that easy and certainly not as inexpensive as it is there.”

She said that most couples buying homes both work full-time, and some have children, so their time is limited. What they think is a quick weekend project could realistically linger on for months.

“Some of them have never painted before or done a construction project, and they get in way over their heads,” she said.

John Bryson, owner of JM Bryson Construction Management of North Attleboro, has been on the other end of these do-it-yourself jobs, where his company has had to repair the damage done by homeowners who thought they could do projects themselves — only to realize that they are much more complicated, costly, and time-consuming than originally thought.

“People need to be really honest with themselves about what things cost and how long projects take,” Bryson said. “I will sometimes send (customers) to a ‘cost vs. value’ website where they can see for themselves the costs of remodeling jobs in different parts of the country.”

Bryson claimed that most construction companies — his included — have tightened their belts over the years and don’t have as many employees as they once did, so they work with outside contractors who are working on other jobs at the same time.

“Not only can people be unrealistic about costs, but about timelines, too,” he said.

They often don’t take into account things like permitting, inspections, delays in getting materials and availability of plumbers, electricians or other professionals, he said.

“Can we do a kitchen in a week? In a perfect world, yes, if we have no problems or issues,” Bryson said. “But the reality is that things come up and most of us don’t have the resources at our fingertips that they do on HGTV shows.”

Bryson, who has had his business for 36 years, said he is fortunate to have a core group of subcontractors with whom he has worked for decades. But he has seen “nightmare scenarios” play out for customers who tried to cut corners and save money by using unlicensed contractors who don’t have quality or reliable subcontractors.

“You get some guys who fill their (customers’) heads with low numbers, but they have no insurance, are looking for subcontractors as they’re doing the job … it’s a recipe for disaster,” he maintained. “For the legitimate guys, we have to pay taxes, workmen’s comp … You know the adage: You get what you pay for.”

Veteran interior designer Elizabeth Gardner Haney, a North Attleboro resident, said she has had clients who wanted to be their own contractors only to find there was much more to it than they had originally thought.

“The average homeowner doesn’t have 19 people behind the scenes doing sanding, carpentry, cleaning and everything else like they do on the HGTV shows,” she said. “And doing a home renovation project while living in the space can be quite a challenge.”

Even though HGTV home improvement shows may give viewers unrealistic expectations when it comes to home buying and home remodeling, Haney said that they give homeowners “some incredible ideas that spark creativity and help them to determine what their individual style is.”

“HGTV has brought the word ‘home’ back into the mainstream,” Haney said. “Home should be your sanctuary, a place where you can turn the key, open the door and be comforted.”

“Even if you can’t afford to do a major renovation or to hire an interior designer, just changing the paint color or buying soft décor like a new accent rug, a throw for the couch, some new pillows … can make all the difference,” she added.

O’Neil said that in addition to unrealistic ideas about costs associated with home buying and renovation, the seemingly effortless home searches are quixotic.

“I have to temper their expectations, because unlike on HGTV, we are not going to look at three houses and find the perfect one,” she said. “I’ve shown people 20, 30, 40 houses before finding the right one.”

O’Neil also alluded to the fact that it is a seller’s market, meaning there are more prospective home buyers than there are homes available. This, in turn, has driven up prices.

According to a recent report by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, the median home price for a single-family home in the commonwealth is $410,000 — up 7.9 percent since June 2016.

“This is the first time it’s exceeded $400,000,” said Paul Yorkis, past president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and owner of Patriot Real Estate in Medway. “First-time homebuyers — those looking at low- and moderately priced homes — are having a tough time finding a home. It’s partly due to price, but it’s also that they’re competing for the exact same dwelling with existing homeowners who want to downsize to a condo or a smaller home.”

“Inventory is the lowest it’s been in the last 20 years,” he added. “And there’s not a high volume of new construction — and I’m not talking about $1 million-plus condos in Boston, but (affordable) homes and condos in places like Attleboro, Medway, Foxboro …”

But on the bright side, DeGirolamo opined, aspiring home buyers do usually find something — especially if they are patient and temper their expectations.

“We live in a society where we want instant gratification,” she said. “With home buying and home renovation, that is usually just not the case — despite what you see on HGTV.”

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Original Date: June 8 2018

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Exterior Home Improvement Contractors Share Unique Porch Concepts

A perfectly executed exterior home improvement project will not only increase the value of your home, but you might also find yourself chasing off prying neighbors who want to take pictures of your home because it makes for a stunning backdrop. The average return on investment (ROI) of a professionally installed porch, deck, or patio construction is about 73% and average even higher for high-quality wooden decks.

According to exterior home improvement contractors a porch addition, such a masonry blocks are not only the most popular thing to add during a home improvement, they also come in different wall heights that you can either use as retaining walls, tree rings, fire pits, or even stack them up to create eye-catching layers of raised planting beds. Renovating a dated porch and front yard requires more than a lick of paint or a little weeding. You can transform your homes curb appeal by using uniquely designed pavers to create a stunning walkway or entrance to your renovated front porch.

Other creative ways to liven up your home’s exterior and improve the look of your front porch without breaking the bank include painting, replacing the front door, and adding masonry enhancements. Your front door is the first thing that catches your eye and using a bold color or replacing it with a decorative door is an easy and affordable way to instantly add some character and provide a more welcoming entryway into your house.

Changing dated items on your porch such as light fixtures, locks, handles, or house numbers can help you call attention to certain features you want people to notice. According to exterior home improvement contractors, if you’re happy with the look of your door, you can spend money on upgrading the front porch color and light fixtures. Soft porch lights can enhance your home’s overall look and make it appear more inviting. Most importantly, exterior lighting such as solar lights don’t use any electricity from the house, and they improve security by reducing dark spots around your home.

If you have a seating area, even the smallest space on your porch, contractors can help you create a warm and welcoming entry.  As well as the installation a few low-maintenance flowers, porch furniture and outdoor artwork to create an attractive focal point. Get creative with your flower containers as well as outdoor rugs to bring life and color to the front of your home.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.