Residential Remodeling in Omaha, NE – 2018

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Residential Remodeling in Omaha, NE – 2018

Have you been thinking about taking on a home remodeling project lately? Is there something that really needs to be done or that you feel would significantly add to the enjoyment of your personal or family living space? Or do you want to improve energy efficiency, upgrade with smart home features, or do any of the other on-trend home updates you’ve been seeing or hearing about? Enhancing the look and/or function of the exterior and/or interior of one’s home can mean a lot of different things as there is so much potential in any given residential property.

Roofing, Gutters, Siding & Windows

These are the main elements of a home’s façade, with both function and aesthetics being important aspects to consider. If one or the other is lacking, a home improvement project is presumably in your future, and then you’ll end up with the best of both worlds.

If not simply due to age, oftentimes repair or replacement is needed to fix damage to these specific parts of a home caused by the myriad of severe weather that’s commonplace in our region. Sometimes this is clearly apparent right away while other times it can go unnoticed, only later to find that it’s what has led to a more serious problem.

Matt Preister
Xcel Roofing

“Many insurance companies only allow one year after a storm hits and a home has been damaged to file a claim and repair the damage,” explains Matt Preister with Xcel Roofing. “In Nebraska and the Midwest, there’s always the potential for storms to cause damage to our homes, especially the roofing and siding. We love our communities and keep watch over them Xtensively, weather systems included. Living in your home long-term and raising your family under that roof does go far beyond protecting it from the elements of the weather, though, and we take that to heart at Xcel Roofing.” With that in mind, he advises on the following two major benefits of maintaining a good roofing system and exterior, including your siding and windows.

Enhanced Energy Efficiency: “Shingles are not just shingles! The same goes for siding and windows, too. There are so many choices on the market now. It’s advantageous to work with a consultant who will educate you on the differences and on the new and most innovative materials. In the case of shingles, they’ll be able to direct you to the ones that deliver on the promise of reflecting sunlight rather than absorbing it. With siding and windows, minimizing energy loss is a focal point of the products and installation process too. This will help keep your HVAC system from having to work so hard and save energy dollars for your family. But as we think about energy efficiency, let’s absolutely not ever forget about ventilation! As part of Xcel’s roof replacement, we make it a point to go into the attic to confirm that rising warm air can easily escape. Many times this gets missed in the process, which is again why it is important to work with a professional who will make it a point to walk you through the entire process. Using best-in-class shingles and roofing systems like what Xcel Roofing uses, Owens Corning, and earning a Preferred Contractors status, our systems come with a manufacturer 50-year problem-free performance and 5-year labor warranty. This gives homeowners peace of mind knowing that a reputable company that is firmly established in the community is there to take care of them.”

Amazing Curb Appeal: “As homeowners, we all appreciate that a good weather-tight roof, siding, and windows can not only prevent extensive, expensive water damage but also lend a boost to the outside appearance of your home and neighborhood. Specifically regarding roofing, from the different aesthetics that can be created with the various colors and styles to the new Impact-Resistant high-end materials to replace the wood shake shingles, Xcel Roofing’s consultants will help you with selection to achieve your desired look and function. Different homes feature different roof lines and exteriors, but seeing cracked, curled, or even missing shingles is not doing your home any favors and won’t win you any ‘Neighbor of the Year’ awards. A reputable company should be able to guide you through the entire process of a roof replacement from the day you decide on the colors and styles that will complement your home through the final day of installation. Providing you with digital tools to show you what a certain shingle with a certain siding color looks like might just make that process easier for you. You should not only get a new roof that performs well, but has the pride of the homeowner in looks.”

Jim Harding
Xcel Roofing

Jim Harding with Xcel Roofing also weighs in, offering the following tips: “If you’re a fan of home improvement shows or if you have already attempted your own DIY work, you’ll quickly learn that remodeling projects can take on a life of their own.  Even the most seasoned remodeler can run into issues that would be nearly impossible to anticipate at the onset. To keep the frustration level under control and credit card from heating up, we recommend the following:

  • Plan out your project by creating a step by step process you can follow.
  • Shop for project materials ahead of time, not as you go.
  • Hire a pro if it involves an advanced skill level or special tools to do it right.
  • Get a permit from your local municipality if required.  Don’t perform unpermitted work.
  • Expect that during the process things can go wrong and changes may need to be made.
  • Budget what you think it will cost and add in a 15-20% contingency.
  • Make sure your pro has proper insurance coverages.  Ask your own agent for help with this.
  • Get references if you hire a pro.  Get help and suggestions if you are doing it yourself.

As for the first part of that last bullet point, homeowners first and foremost need to check out a company’s reputation and make sure that customer service is their first priority. Does their vision for service and company standards meet or exceed your expectations? Look at the information provided by the Better Business Bureau to make sure that this is a company that has been accredited and has good reviews.

Finally, understand what your own goals are in wanting to tackle remodeling projects on your home. How long do you plan to live in the home? Are you remodeling it for sale? Are you fixing a functional problem or a cosmetic defect?  If this is your ‘forever home’ and you want it to reflect your own unique style then feel free to go crazy with color and design. It’s your home! However, if your goal is to sell the house in the near future, try to keep the cosmetic changes neutral and any structural repairs permitted and documented.”

He concludes, “The American dream of homeownership is still alive and well in most communities.  The purchase of a home remains the single largest investment most people make in their lifetime. Like any investment, it can grow in value or it can simply take your money. The best dollars you will ever invest in your home are in maintenance items.  They’re really boring for most people–furnace filters, gutter cleaning, air conditioner checks, exterior caulking, the list goes on and on. Maintaining your home properly really sets the stage for some fantastic remodeling opportunities. Otherwise, it’s just lipstick on a pig. Happy remodeling everyone!”

Interior Design & Upgrades

Moving inside your home, there’s probably plenty of things you love – and a few things that fall in the “left a lot to be desired” category. What are those misses for you and what can you do to resolve those issues? Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ve now got a list of your wish list for future home improvement projects. Now it’s up to you to decide what’s feasible and the order of importance.

You’ll want to take a look at functionality and how the room(s) could better fit your needs, which could necessitate a bigger kitchen or living room, more storage space, or extra bathrooms. Kitchens and master bathrooms are two areas where investing in remodeling to update them is well worth it. When you think about your daily routine and what gets the most use in a home by your family or when you’re entertaining, it’s those areas. They are used daily, need to be functional, and you want them to look and feel nice. For the same reason, an updated kitchen and master bath are going to be attractive to buyers when it comes time to sell, providing a significant return on your investment on top of your personal enjoyment while living there.

Widely considered to be the “oldest trick in the book,” simply changing the color of the walls can transform the look and feel of any room in your home.

Do the walls match your personality and lifestyle? If not, change it up! Some prefer cozy, some want clean and simple or sleek and modern, some want rich tones for a luxurious feel, and some go for bright colors to match their disposition or active nature. Your color palette and the tones in it will make a big difference in the feel of the room.

Mike Gerst
Gerst Painting Inc.

“When considering your home remodeling project, picking a color palette that fits your lifestyle, needs, and wants can be overwhelming,” says Mike Gerst with Gerst Painting Inc. “Let us help you unlock the Psychology of Color with our top color picks!

First, cool grays continue to be a leader in residential remodels. Gray is classic and a perfect backdrop for any color combination. Painting a room in gray tones represents those that are intelligent and disciplined. For reference, if you’d like to come in and check them out, our top three cool grays are Mindful Gray (SW 7016), Dovetail (SW 7018), and Black Fox (SW 7020).

Second, beige is another timeless pick. It continues to be elegant year after year. Painting your room in beige tones help create serenity and flow throughout your home. It gives the sense of comfort and simplicity. If this is more of what you’re looking for, our recommendations would be Kilim Beige (SW 6106), Latte (SW 6108), and Hop Sack (SW 6109).

The Psychology of Color can change your mood and your space. If you need help with your Psychology of Color for your remodeling project, get in touch with us and we’ll apply both the art and science of color selection to get you the best possible result. Visiting us online at www.gerstcontracting.com is a great starting point!”

Today, there are new techniques beyond just a couple of fresh coats of paint to explore as well. You’re probably familiar with the accent wall, which creates dimension and allows you to play with color and tie in the flooring, furniture, fixtures, and art. With the same goal in mind, you’d be amazed at the different designs and textures that can be created with paint.

Thomas Rajkovich
Thomas Faux Finishing

“People are incorporating impact walls in every room in their house. The master bedroom and bathroom, dining room, rooms with fireplaces, and powder rooms are the areas of the home where this is especially popular,” says Thomas Rajkovich with Thomas Faux Finishing. “Grays and neutrals look like they’re here to stay, but they don’t have to be boring. Glass bead and metallic looks are everywhere in Europe and on the coasts, and it’s been exciting that clients are asking for these here in Nebraska too. Fine faux finishing is one of the quickest and most economical ways to update and transform your home without knocking down walls. Decorative finishes, which is like custom art for your walls, have come a long way too. Whether your style is contemporary or more traditional, you can’t make a mistake choosing a metallic, glass bead, or even a finish with foil.  The new wave of decorative finishes fit any style.

If you’re going through the time and expense of remodeling, try something new with color, texture, and light! Don’t worry if you don’t have a designer. We have a design consultant to show you our extensive portfolio, which makes it easy to find what suits you best. During the planning stages, clients are able to see a digital recreation of what the finished room will look like so there are no surprises.”

Many choose to update flooring and decorative accents at the same time to tie everything together. You may just need to have the floor’s refinished, or you may be looking into installation of new carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, or stone flooring.

For your kitchen or bathroom remodeling or for updated flooring, the professionals at Modern Concepts Tile can do incredible custom tile work.

Danny Reynolds
Modern Concepts Tile

“From the size of the tiles to the material and even really neat textures that have been coming out in tile products, there’s so much you can do with design,” says Danny Reynolds with Modern Concepts Tile. “The color palette, finishes, accents and patterning selections are all things to take into consideration. Color and texture contrast is important, as many opt for accent walls or different tile for the walls versus the flooring. You can achieve an endless number of different looks when you add in accent tile or mosaics and grout color.

Combine those with the other design elements, such as built-in shelving, heated flooring, frameless or no glass at all and zero-entry walk-in showers for master baths, and you’ve got yourself a plan. All of these things together are what really makes each project unique.

Custom bathrooms and kitchens are definitely a selling point for a house, and they are a conversation piece too. In areas where guests in your home will naturally gravitate towards or be using, interior design makes a favorable and lasting impression and quite possibly could be a source of inspiration. While things like Pinterest and touring homes on the market are still the most popular ways to get a good idea of what you like and what you don’t, time and time again we have people tell us they saw something at a friend or family member’s house that they want to recreate.

We love to have people bring us their ideas and show them the possibilities. There truly are so many amazing things you can do in a home with tile work that delivers on beauty and function!”

Doug Dushan
Echo Systems

Finally, there’s the integration of technology, which can also make a dramatic difference in the aesthetic and functional qualities of a home. Doug Dushan with Echo Systems advises, “At Echo Systems Experience Center, we have the pleasure of blowing people’s minds on a daily basis. Designed as a multi-million dollar home, we feature the single best facility in the world to showcase where residential technology is at today, with special emphasis on the aesthetic integration of said technology.

For example, our most popular renovation requests have to do with making primary television locations look more appealing.  There are many aesthetic alternatives to a large black triangle with a plastic bezel, which is a look we all know but have resigned ourselves to.  Instead, that television can disappear into a framed mirror when turned off.  Or, a scrolling piece of artwork when not in use.

Often, visitors will ask what can be done in existing homes, seemingly skeptical that any of the cool stuff we showed them can be done without building from scratch.  Our staff is always excited to explain that putting in intelligent wiring infrastructure can and should be done, whether it’s new construction or retrofit. It is often easier than people assume. Truly, when it comes to home technology, the biggest obstacle to homeowners is lack of knowledge about what is really available to them. Often, assumptions are based on old information. Occasionally, we will get visitors in the showroom who have just finished a remodel and are outright angry with their contractor for not telling them about what they see in our Experience Center.  In summary, come see what is available at a professional technology showroom and make an informed decision about what is right for you.

Additionally, infrastructure planning is critical for taking advantage of the conveniences technology is bringing to our lives.  Not to mention it is increasingly expected as a hoped-for item in the resale of a home. By planning and installing a comprehensive wiring infrastructure, a homeowner can embark on a path of enhancements at their own preferred pace. Specifically in existing homes, I encourage people to take advantage of even the smallest remodeling project to then run the proper wires in their homes.  If you are having any drywall patching or painting done, that is the perfect time to carry out a plan to wire your home.  Patching drywall is relatively inexpensive, but what you can do with a competently wired home will advance your enjoyment of it for many years.

It remains a very common, and critical, misconception that running wires in an existing home is too invasive or difficult to be worthwhile. This is almost always not the case.  Even if the budget won’t allow for a large technology purchase, planning for the future in any endeavor always bears fruit. This case is not different.”

Project Planning & Execution

Diving right in without a well thought out plan is the last thing you want to do unless it happens to be something relatively simple and straightforward, and even then, proceed with caution. There aren’t an abundance of nightmarish and “comedy of errors” experiences during home remodeling projects out there, especially ones of the DIY variety, for no good reason. Instead of thinking it won’t happen to you, take it as a sign that you better know your stuff or know someone who does, be willing to suffer the consequences of any mistakes you might make on your own, or just hire a professional. Particularly for major projects, especially ones that involve the infrastructure or major systems such as plumbing, HVAC, and electrical, the latter is probably a wise move.

A great starting point for planning your next remodeling project is to take a good look at your home and picture what you can and can’t live in or with. No one wants to be uncomfortable in their own home or to see something they hate day in and day out.

The big thing to consider is two-fold. First, what do you love about your home? Second, what would you like to fix? You may come to find out that simply changing your décor or finishes is what’s needed. On the other hand, you may realize that it’s going to be a more in-depth process to turn the things you don’t like into things you love about your home. Once you’ve pinpointed what takes priority, if you have the funds, time and/or resources to remodel your home, you can work towards figuring out what would be a much better fit for you.

With remodeling projects, it’s important to know your budget going into the consultation with a professional. With this information, they’ll be able to make best suggestions for products and design that fall within that range. It’s similar to shopping for a home – if you fall in love with a $60K project, then find out you only have $20K to spend, there’s a feeling of disappointment that overshadows the entire experience.

It’s also important to decide who will be involved in the project and to what extent. A good starting point is being honest with yourself about the amount of sweat equity you’re willing and able to put into the project. If you’re capable of doing the entire project or even just certain parts of it and know exactly what you’re getting into, go for it and save some money! You may simply be lacking a few things to get the job done, and if that includes tools, you can easily rent them at Honeyman Rent-All instead of buying them outright or hiring someone else for the job for that reason alone. However, if there’s any uncertainty, it’s wise to leave it to a professional. Especially on a big project, it’s worth the money for the expertise you’re getting. No matter the amount, it’s probably a lot of money to you, so the assurance that it is getting done correctly, accomplishes your goals, and meets your needs is pretty important.

Jennifer Coyle
American National Bank

If it’s determined that you’ll be obtaining financing for the project, Jennifer Coyle with American National Bank offers the following advice:

“With any type of financing, you will need to gather all income and asset documentation; however, on a remodel job, you would need to have the scope of the work being done, contractor, and at least an estimated bid to determine the loan amount. We can always look at ‘What if?’ scenarios with a budget that will be no more than X amount of dollars to start out and evaluate the possibilities from there.

We have three different types of renovation loans, each with its own restrictions. Then there’s the option to purchase a home and incorporate the improvements all in one loan using the value after it has been improved, which meets the needs of our clients who want to buy a home that needs to be updated. Any of these allow our clients to do minor updates all the way up to major upgrades – luxury, health and safety, livability, and structural.  Kitchens and bathrooms do continue to offer the biggest bang for your dollar. Speaking of which, it’s important to address one of the biggest misconceptions – that the work that is being completed will be dollar for dollar towards the home’s value. That is most often not the case. For those who already own the property, I would suggest having a market analysis done ahead of time using current conditions and then again afterward factoring in the improved conditions.  The realtor can give a close estimate of what the increased value potentially may be based on the upgrades. The same is true for a buyer looking to purchase and do the remodeling all in one loan.

When looking at remodeling, oftentimes the homeowner intends to stay at their current residence for a while, so there’s the value of their enjoyment of the surroundings.  But you also need to take into account how long it will take to recoup the funds being invested into the property, if you’re overbuilding for the area, and most importantly, if the changes being done will hinder the resale when you are ready.”

Hopefully all of this information has left you feeling inspired and eager to take on your next home improvement project! When in doubt, it never hurts to ask a pro and lucky for you, they can easily be found here in the Omaha Metro area.

Be sure to keep in mind that if you are remodeling your home with the hope of living in it for an extended period of time, it’s wise to approach your project with the intention of getting exactly what you want (budget-permitting, of course). However, you may decide that it’s best to approach home improvements a bit differently if you have the intention of putting yours on the market and make some compromises accordingly. Be sure to check out our Resell Remodeling feature story in the October issue if that’s more of what you’re going for with your upcoming project!