I Need to Hire a Contractor. What Should I Know or Do?


Many people are opting to stay in their current homes and remodeling and not building a new home or moving into a different home. Not sure how to do the work and want to hire a contractor? Where do you find a good contractor, what questions should you ask, how much should they charge? These are all probably questions you are asking yourself.

The first thing that I tell people is ask around. The best information we can gather is from friends and family. They may have information of a person that they used that was outstanding, not so good or didn’t do what they want. So, be sure to let people know you are looking for a referral and see what they have to say.

Once you find the person you want to work with, call the Better Business Bureau. You are going to want someone who is licensed & insured so if something happens during the process, whether to them, you or someone in your family, they will be able to pay for any of the medical or correction items needed. Tell the contractor that you would like to speak with 3 different UNRELATED people they have worked for. The reason you want someone who is unrelated to your contractor, is we all know we will vouch in a positive way for our family members that need a referral. While you are on the phone with these testimonial persons, here are a few questions you may want to ask:

~Was the contractor and employees courteous & thoughtful to your home, space & your privacy.

~Do they feel the job was appropriately charged.

~Did the contractor do a good clean up job at the end of the project to make sure that the area and surrounding rooms were clean & tidy.

~Were they on time according to the schedule you agreed to upon the signing of the contract.

~Was there continual contact during the project, whether they were running late, not able to make it that day or acknowledgment was given for any other reasons/days they were not going to be able to make it.

~If the project goes over the projected finish date, did/does the contractor give discounts for your inconvenience.

Also ask to see pictures of current past projects they have done. Some contractors will also have photos of the progression of the project and you may be able to see how the space around is for cleanliness.

So know you have found your contractor, spoken with some references, now it is time to sit down with the contractor to begin your project. Make sure the contactor completely understands your time/budget you have to work with. Ask them to do a drawing of the finished project with measurements and a detailed cost outline. If you are working with more than one contractor, they may ask to see one of the other drawings you have received, DO NOT let them see the other plans. This should be something that comes with your contract. Each contractor has a different style, hourly rate & cost price. You do not want them to look at the other contractors work and say, “YEAH, WE WOULD BE RIGHT THERE WITH THEM.” What does that really mean. Also, ask the contractor if they charge and added price for a draft done earlier and if they will reasonably sell you the draft even if you decide to not hire them or go ahead with the project at that time.

So you have the plan know and you are ready to go. In the contract, have a very detailed timeline for when milestones will be done. This will keep your contractor on track and not push you to the bottom should a higher paying contract come in. Also, DO NOT pay the contractor up front for all the work. Break the payments out based on the completion of work that has been done. An example would be the contractor could get 40% when the contract is signed another 20% when the job is half done and the rest upon completion. By upon completion, make sure the contractor knows this means the space & area to be cleaned & in good repair also. Ask the contractor if he will give you a discount if you let him take pictures for his portfolio/website once the project is complete. Remember, they don’t give you anything for free, so why should you let them put your idea out there for others to copy?

The other thing you want to be sure is that the contractor can afford to buy the supplies needed without other upfront dollars from you. If you have a specific item you want to get yourself and supply for the contractor, ask them if they will give you a discount for your time & energy to have this there for them when needed. Be sure if the contractor orders something specific for you and you pay the in advance or during the job for this specific item, that the contactor informs that shop that he ordered it from you also have the right to pick it up. If the contractor does not authorize you to be able to access these items, you will never be able to pick the item up and if something should happen to the contractor, you will never get this item.

Also be sure that someone is available to be at your home at all times during the working process. The contactor may come across questions or complications that need immediate answers and if you or someone who knows what is to happen is not available, the contactor may just make an executive decision. The other thing to remember is this person may be in your home for long periods of time and unless you completely trust them, they will have access to your personal belongings. Make sure important papers, blank checks, expensive items and sentimental items are put away or locked up.

If you take the time to do your homework up front, you should get the outcome you want and have a pleasant experience. If you do not, do not be afraid to contact the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint. Remember, if someone had complained with their unsatisfied work, you may have thought differently in hiring this person also. So do someone else a favor if your experience was not a pleasant one and let others know about the contractor and what happened.

THE SPIRITS TO MOVE is here to give quality information & ideas.

Your Minnesota Real Estate agent providing quality service whether buying, selling or relocating. Experienced in short sale & foreclosures. Learn more at http://www.VickieGylling.com.

Five must have accessories to decorate your home.


 With interests rates still low, many people are realizing NOW is the time to buy rather than rent. So once you have your new home, the thought hits you that you need to decorate it. Here are the top 5 must have accessories to decorate your space. Whether new or redecorating, these accessories will bring a new feel to any room.
These accessories can be purchased from any store or for those of you that are watching your budgets be sure to check out your local second-hand stores, thrift stores or Goodwill. What one person thinks is junk; is another persons treasure.

1.) Mirrors~ a mirror will compliment any rooms decor and add light accents.

2.) Books~ add a 2-3 books to an end table. Books can be covered in decorative papers or fabrics to fit your lifestyle or personality.

3.) Nature items~ be sure to look outside your windows or while you are out on a walk for items that will compliment your home. Flowers, twigs or maybe even an old birds nest that has fallen out of a tree.

4.) Silver frames~ rather than have all your frames in different colors or styles, use silver ones to give your home clean lines. You can also change out the silvers around the home to mix up the styles every so months for different looks.

5.) Original art work or sculptures~ when your kids bring home their artwork from school, don’t put it in a drawer, put it in a silver frame and hang it on the wall or on a table. Not everything need be a Picasso or cost thousands of dollars for it to be considered art.

Remember, your home is representation of you and your lifestyle. Make it comfy for you to live in and enjoyable for your guests to come to.

THE SPIRITS TO MOVE is here to help you reach your goal of a stylish & beautiful place to live.

How Cold is Cold?


It is Friday, January 21, 2011. If you are living in the Minnesota area, you know that the freezer door has definitely been opened on our state. It is 10 am and our current temp here is -15 and with the windchill they are saying it is about -35. How’s that for cold?

How does this cold affect your home? This type of cold can do a lot of damage to your home if you are not paying attention. With just a couple easy steps, you can elevate a lot of pain.

PIPES~ Most people think that the pipes are on the inside of the home and the home is heated so they should be fine. But do you know that the pipes that are located on exterior was and in cabinets will get cold. So if you can, leave the cabinet doors open so the heat from your home can get directly to the pipes. You can also put towels or by the pipe heating blankets.

WINDOWS~ Unless you build your home and put high quality windows in, the chances of having some sort of draft from your windows is very likely. Most of your box stores now sell plastic that can be placed on the trim work and keep these drafts out. This will also save you dollars as your heater won’t have to work so hard to keep heating the air.

DOORS~ Not only does our family & friends come and go from these area, but so do your dollars in the winter seasons. Invest a few dollars and put the foam around the doors to keep the cold drafts out. You may also want to invest in draft preventers that go at the bottom of the doors.

So with the economy straining our pocketbooks, why not take a few moments of your time and put some of those dollars back into your wallet? Invest a little time into your home and keep it warm.

THE SPIRITS TO MOVE hope you & your home stay warm!

Your Minnesota Real Estate agent providing quality service whether buying, selling or relocating. Experienced in short sale & foreclosures. Learn more at http://www.VickieGylling.com.

Freaky Friday News


So we all know the dangers of some of the electronics in our house and that they can cause a house fire if not properly installed.  But do you know what the most common house fire is started from?  A toaster that is left plugged in.  Fire fighters have stated that it is not talked about much but it is a very dangerous household appliance.  So protect your family, animals & home.  Unplug those toasters when you are not using them.  Make your home a safe one.

Out of this world Remodeling…from buildings to resturants to YOUR own home…do it right.


When it comes to remodeling where does one start?  What design would you like in the space you are remodeling? Majestic, contemporary, new age or something completely out of this world.  Where are all the supplies available for purchase that I will need?  How much will this cost?  How long will it take?  Is this project something I can do myself, do I want to do it myself?  If these are questions you are pondering…Have I got something to share with YOU!
 
If you are looking a company that does OUT OF THIS WORLD WORK with creative & innovative ideas, let me let you in on a little secret…EncompassArts. 
 
Encompassarts is a complete design and built company with an emphasis on artistic and unique finishes. Started in 2002, Fredrick Horton merged all his artistic, design/painting and remodeling experience and thus Encompassarts, “creates art to live in”!  Not only live in, but also play and work in designs that will impress clients, family and friends. 
 
Who is going to be doing the work you have contracted?  Many of the companies will send out the owners of the company to talk with you and be there for the signing of the contract & to collect the monies.  Where are they the rest of the time?  When you hire Encompassarts, you will be working directly with the owner Fredrick Horton on a daily basis.  Fredrick not only meets with you for the initial meeting, but will also be the one to help in decision process’ and do the work with his own hands.  He does employee 2 part-time workers, but you can count on him to be there for YOU!
 
The owner of this company, Fredrick Horton, has taken his talent with construction, painting and art into a visual experience that will astound you!  Not your designer.  If you are looking for creativity whether it be as creative as animal hide ceilings, faux wood grain door, Italian plasters or concrete countertops, you have found your company!  Located in Minneapolis at #1 Thomas Ave,  they have done some exciting work at some of the hottest spots to gather, work or entertain, take a look:
 
           Epic Nightclub                         Manhattans nightclub                       Epic Nightclub         
 
 
Looking for something for a residential home?  Take a look at this:
 
           Great Northern Lofts           Private residential home             
 
 
 
                                          Creative spindle work!!       Glass inserts in building stairwell  
 
Not located in Minnesota?  Wishing you could get someone to come to you and create a master piece of your own?  Don’t worry, Encompassarts will travel to you!!!! Now how is that for service? 
 
So remember, if you or someone you know is looking to remodel, want something creative, stunning and a one of a kind piece, contact Encompassarts at 612.270.8205 or get more information on their website at Encompassarts.net!  You will be happy you took the time to deal with a creative professional listening to your ideas, needs & expectations…then exceeding most!
 
THE SPIRITS TO MOVE tries to keep you moving in the right direction! Hope you enjoy the articles & information we provide you with.

#1 Hottest Decorating & Fashion Trend for 2011


It is always fun when January rolls around to hear what the new trends for fashion & decoration will be.

Well, it was just reveled that the “HOT” color for this year will be:

R U S T

So if you are looking to redecorate your home, your wardrobe or even your choice for jewelry fashion be sure to keep this tidbit in mind.

Can’t afford to do a whole redesign of a room or wardrobe?  Let’s address some of these things.

~ Redecorating: Don’t think you have to completely redo a room to make it up to date in the fashion world.  Just adding a  throw blanket to a corner of a chair or couch and maybe toss a couple throw pillows with it.  Do some accent painting with stencils with the fashion color, but be careful that you don’t OVER DO IT with how much stenciling you do, less is more and depending on the style can be a very elegant look as well.  Add an end table in the new color of the year!  This will bring in that splash around the room and make some great conversation pieces!  On a very restricted budget, then shop at a thrift store or goodwill and look for accent pieces in the new color.  Maybe a vase or picture frame.   You also can ALWAYS take a piece of furniture and repaint or recushion the chair to include the lasted fashion trend!

~Wardrobe: We all know it took us years to build the collection of clothing that we have in our closets now.  So to say well, donate them all and start over is not only feasible, but VERY unrealistic in the economy we are in today.  Why not shop an up scale second-hand store and see if you can’t find and accent piece to give you that splash of color to liven your current wardrobe up?  Everything from a simple scarves that can be worn many different ways is a great start.  Not sure about how to get create all those great styles, look up different ways on the internet.  Want to do something a little more, how about a nice quality blazer or new coat? Even a new pair of shoes can change the whole look of the same outfit to a new exciting & fashionable style.

~Jewelry: Make this one count! With styles as they are now, many of the designers are creating jewelry that combines many different colors, so this mean you can buy ONE piece and it can go with lots of different outfits but look completely different with each.

So when you are feeling a little drab and looking for THE SPIRITS TO MOVE you into the new fashion trend, remember RUST!

Should I have Ice Hanging on My Roof?


All but one of the states have snow coverage somewhere to make this a record year.  With all the cold the country is experiencing, what about the ice on your roof?  Is this normal or should I be concerned is a question many of you maybe asking yourselves. 

 Ice dams usually develop from the incorrect ventilation of attic and roof areas.  The diagram below is a great example of how this happens.

To answer your question, NO, you should not have long icicles hanging from the roof.  They are not only a potential risk for people or animals  walking under them; they can cause severe damage to your home inside and out.   Here is an example of a severe ice dam on a home that will need professional expertise to remove this correctly:

So you have some of these same looking icicles on the side of your home?  What to do now?  There are companies you can call that will come out and look at your problem, give you an estimate to resolve this issue, give you advice on how to prevent future issues & can do the work for you.

Some of the resolutions that may be used to correct the issues could be:

~ Steaming the icicles:  Some professionals my recommend to steam the icicles off your roof.  This can take anywhere from 3+ hours to do and can be costly. 

~ Roof Melt:  These can either be in a disk form that you toss onto your roof and will melt the snow/ice around where they land or a pellet formula that needs to be spread on by someone applying it onto the roof .  Again, I would recommend hiring a professional as the roof is going to be VERY slippery and could lead to injury if done by someone not professionally trained. (Photo for example only not a recommendation on behalf of author).

~ Heater Cores: Once you have the first issue resolved, a professional may recommend you install a heating system on your roof to resolve future issues.  This is typically electrical.  Cost, installation periods & availability vary based on roof dimensions, slopes, coverage and age.  There are different styles and cable that can be used based on your needs.

Most of us, when we see the icicles hanging from our roof would instinctively grab a broom or something with a long handle and knock them down.  However, this could do more damage to your roof and/or shingles.  Do NOT run the risk of having to hire a professional to correct more than what is wrong.  If this issue  is not handled correctly, the result could be melting that runs into your home, into your attic, into the sheet rock and may make it all the way into your basement.  

THE SPIRITS TO MOVE  strive to give you quality information & resolutions to issues faced in real estate.

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