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2014 expected to be a good year for remodeling

With housing prices remaining steady, interest rates low and contractors back in full swing, this is a prime time for home remodeling.

The remodeling market is confident, and the economy is holding. The experts in the market analysis world say 2014 is a good year for the remodeling industry.

According to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, a report by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 2014 already has had a good start and that momentum is expected to carry on throughout the year.

The projection shows double-digit gains this year over last year for the first quarter, and gains of just under 10 percent by the third quarter are expected. The study leaders attribute the growth to homeowners’ confidence in the housing market, which results from growth in home prices, housing starts and existing home sales. With that increased confidence, homeowners are now more likely to undertake home improvements they deferred during the Great Recession.

Housing experts project a slight slowing of the market by midyear because borrowing costs will start to creep back up. Right now, however, interest rates are still low and banks are loosening up funds. If you want to remodel, now is the time.

The National Association of Home Builders also reports increases from last year and predicts a good year for 2014. The Remodeling Market Index shows the highest reading since the first quarter of 2004 in remodelers’ activity and confidence in the market.

The experts at Remodeling Magazine agree and have another report to prove it. Every year, the magazine puts out its “Cost vs. Value” report assessing remodeling projects and determining the return on investment. For 2014, all 35 projects on the list added more value this year than last year, and this is the second consecutive year of increases after years of decline. This is another sign the housing and remodeling markets are on the mend. It feels good to see some good news about the remodeling industry!

We love reading the “Cost vs. Value” report and seeing which projects make the top of the list. For 2014, the top-ranking home improvement across the nation was a new front door, which according to the report adds 96.6 percent of the amount you spent to the value of your home. The other projects yielding the highest returns, according to the report, were a wood deck addition, adding an attic bedroom, garage door replacement and a minor kitchen remodel. You can see that homeowners are still cautious, as these projects still have a somewhat limited scope.

In our office, we have felt the market shift to a more positive side as well. People are more excited and ready to remodel when they come through our door. A common story is that they have been putting off some remodeling projects because of the economy but now they are now ready to move forward. Currently, the most common requests are for more gathering space, lovely master suites and bigger garages.

It is common for people to think they need to add on to their homes. However, it is not unusual to find that their problems can be addressed by reconfiguring existing space within the building footprint. This type of redesign is less expensive than an addition and can often accomplish the same goals.

If you’re thinking about a redesign or a remodel, here are a few things to consider when planning. Assembling your design team prior to construction is advisable. The more you plan up front, the better your project will be and the easier it will be to create and stick to an accurate budget. The plan comes first. Even before you can secure a loan with those low interest rates, you need to have the plans and an accurate budget.

If you feel the new energy of the remodeling market rubbing off on you, 2014 may be your year to remodel.

Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at Send comments or questions to

Remodel expenses should be based on your home’s market value

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 10:56 am

Dear Claudia: I buy homes to remodel them and flip them after. What is the advantage of me hiring a professional interior designer like you?

Answer: As a professional interior designer I can certainly make the most out of the space by accentuating the architectural features of the house and making the most out of the money being invested. In return, you can sell the house faster and have a larger profit. I am proud to say that my education in architecture, interior design and 25 years experience has also allowed my career to excel.

It is reported by that 26 percent of people do not choose to hire a professional interior designer. Here are some of the benefits of choosing to work with a professional remodel interior designer: recommendations come from other trade professional in the industry, preferred vendors list, advice about products to use by being on top of the product trends in the industry, furthermore, experience that is priceless and that can avoid costly mistakes.

To remodel homes and flip them is a very profitable business. This is profitable since most of the older homes in established and preferred neighborhoods are houses that are in need of renovation. Most home buyers do not want to undertake the task of remodeling the house before moving in. It is indeed those houses that have been remodeled and brought up to date that are more appealing and will sell faster in today’s real estate market.

Dear Claudia: I am not sure how long we are going to stay in the Ahwatukee house we currently live in. We have owned the house for the last four years. However, my family and I have decided that if we are going to stay for the next couple of years that we should remodel it. My question is how much money we should invest to be able to make a profit when we do decide to sell it?

Answer: it is important to research the real estate market in your neighborhood and understand it. A good website to start the research is, I am positive your real estate agent can help you. To remodel your house is a great idea; especially since you know that you would be living there for the next a couple of years and you get to enjoy it and profit from the sale when you decide to sell your house.

It’s almost impossible for me to give you an exact amount to invest, since it’s all based on the value of your house compared to the other houses in your neighborhood that are the same size and that were built the same year. Also, what areas of your house would you like to remodel? The kitchen is the main room of the house that most homebuyers are looking to being remodeled and that definitely increases the value of the house.

Furthermore, consult with your real estate agent and your interior designer professional. Before deciding to start the remodel, have a complete design plan where you can foresee all the details of the design to make sure you don’t have any unexpected additional costs.

• Claudia Dabdoub is a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills and owner of D’amore Interior Design Studio. To ask a question for an upcoming column, reach her at (480) 751-9938 or

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Irving firefighters remodel home for woman whose husband died in West explosion

Irving firefighters help remodel a home

Volunteers from the Irving Fire Department remodeled the home of Becky Calvin in Emmett, Texas.

Calvin’s husband Perry died while responding to the fertilizer plant explosion in West.

Irving firefighter Les Pratt said his his department heard of the unfinished remodel through a mutual acquaintance. Pratt and about a dozen other firefighters scheduled time to finish the job.

Zillow: Minor Renovations Outweigh Major Remodels When Selling a Home


Today’s home sellers should focus on curb appeal and home staging above larger-scale home renovations, according to a new survey from Zillow Digs. Zillow asked real estate agents and interior designers nationwide to identify the most valuable home improvements for sellers, and the experts agree that minor improvements like landscaping and painting walls in neutral colors save money and attract buyers faster.

Agents agree that sellers should avoid costly projects prior to listing their home, as the increased sale price may not outweigh the time and money spent on the remodel. Instead, agents and designers recommend spending money on minor renovations that will bring the home up to current market standards while also appealing to the broadest number of potential buyers.

“Buyers have more homes to choose from this year, compared to last year,” said Amy Bohutinsky, Zillow chief marketing officer and guest judge on NBC’s new reality show American Dream Builders.  “And in a crowded market, sellers should prioritize spending time and money on upgrades that have mass appeal. Home buyers don’t want to feel as if they are paying top-dollar for someone else’s decorating style. An inviting exterior and landscape, fresh paint in neutral colors, and clutter-free spaces will always appeal to a broad range of tastes.”

Zillow Digs Survey Reveals Top 5 Projects for Home Sellers
Curb Appeal: Creating a strong first impression is imperative as buyers begin making assumptions about a home well before they step inside. “A clean entrance can go a long way toward establishing a positive first impression,” said Zillow Agent Advisory Board member, Cyndi Lesinski of Valencia, Calif. Lesinski recommends adding “fresh potted flowers to increase the life and energy of the entrance.” Another tip is to simply add a fresh coat of paint to the front door. Black, dark charcoal and tasteful reds such as burgundy or cranberry are currently the most popular front door colors on Zillow Digs. These colors bring tasteful exuberance to the home without being too overbearing for potential buyers.

Staging: A home stager can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. The goal is to make “your home appeal to the broadest audience and number of buyers possible,” says Zillow Digs Board of Designers member Mara Miller of Carrier and Company in New York City. When staging, remove all personal belongings and avoid colors or furniture that are too style-specific – neutral colors and minimal furniture are best. “Attempting to decorate may not be the best use of your time and dollars,” says Miller.

Invest in Small Home Improvements:  Both agents and designers agree that sellers should never invest in a major renovation before selling. No matter how out-of-date a home is, “major renovations prior to sale usually will not equal a dollar-for-dollar return, and the time invested outweighs selling it faster,” says Zillow Agent Advisory Board member Chris Speicher, of The Speicher Group and RE/MAX in Washington, D.C. Instead, sellers should spend time and money on smaller updates that will bring the home up to market value. These kinds of projects include updating lighting fixtures, cabinet or door handles, and minor kitchen and bathroom updates.

Declutter: This sounds simple, but according to Zillow experts, it’s the one of the most important things a homeowner should do before selling. A clean house feels more spacious and helps buyers easily envision themselves in the home. “Nothing trumps the aesthetic of a clean and cared-for home,” says Zillow Digs Board of Designers member Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, Calif. “Old appliances and furniture can be overlooked if a space is clean, simple and well-edited.”

Granite Countertops and Stainless Steel Appliances: Most buyers are still requesting “granite countertops and stainless steel appliances,” says Zillow Agent Advisory Board member Bic DeCaro of Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, Va. Keep in mind that most “high-end finishes don’t equal high-end returns,” says DeCaro. However, incorporating granite and new appliances can help catch a buyer’s eye.

Phoenix Home Remodeling Company, Republic West Remodeling, Begins …

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Phoenix home remodeling company, Republic West Remodeling (, announced a home addition project is underway for an Ocotillo Country Club homeowner.  The master planned community is located in southern Chandler, Arizona, approximately 28 miles from Phoenix.


Situated adjacent to the community’s golf course, the home’s site provides beautiful views of the facility’s lush desert landscaping and ponds.  The new addition capitalizes on the beautiful scenery.

By adding 1750 square feet of space, this project almost doubles the size of the existing home.  The addition includes a large recreation game room, a swimming pool bathroom, a Jack and Jill bathroom, two bedrooms, and a large single car garage with a separate storage area.  There is also a remodel of approximately 600 square feet of existing residence, which includes the conversion of the laundry room to a new private suite guest bath, the conversion of a bedroom to a home office, and the conversion of a bedroom to a new laundry room, providing access to the yard and the pool.

Republic West Remodeling recently started breaking ground on this project.  The significant size of this addition requires substantial involvement from the community’s homeowners association, as well as the city of Chandler.  Given the project scope, the total cost is estimated at $300,000.

“This home sits on a very attractive lot and captures the incredible views of the golf course,” said Jim Weisman, owner of Republic West Remodeling, a leading Phoenix home remodeling company. “Plus, the new space will be conducive to the homeowners’ entertaining lifestyle.

“We thoroughly enjoy projects of this nature,” continued Weisman.  “Although this addition presents some strategic challenges, we look forward to the outcome.  We expect this project will add significant value to the property.”

Interested homeowners can request a complimentary design consultation by calling 480-428-2695 or visiting the company’s website.

About Republic West Remodeling

Republic West Remodeling is a leading specialist of home improvement in Phoenix, offers the highest quality home remodeling services including kitchens, bathrooms, room additions and outdoor living spaces. Jim Weisman founded the company in 2011 after co-founding Republic West in 1995. The belief from the beginning was that ethical standards, honest communication, quality work performed by company employees and a low key education and design driven sales approach was what the customer yearned for. 

Republic West Remodeling is an operationally driven company that utilizes various disciplines, processes and procedures to help insure that it can deliver what is promised and is careful to only promise what it can control.

Learn more about Republic West Remodeling’s home remodeling services in Arizona and the Phoenix Metro area by visiting the company’s website.

Media Contact: Jim Weisman, Republic West Remodeling, (480) 428-2695,

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SOURCE Republic West Remodeling