Residential Remodeling in Omaha – July 2021
The housing market is pretty wild for sellers and buyers right now. According to Redfin, in May 2021, Omaha home prices were up 14.8% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $240K. On average, homes in Omaha sell after five days on the market compared to 10 days last year. There were 821 homes sold in May this year, up from 767 last year.
Many families are choosing to sell because there is an opportunity to turn a major profit from what they originally purchased their home at. Others are holding on to their homes and continuing to watch the home values increase. This extra equity is why home remodeling projects are extra popular right now. With such a competitive market, the nice houses are going to be fought over and people are going to pay more than maybe they are actually worth.
We wanted to talk to a few financial institutions about home equity loans for residential remodeling projects, as well as the contractors themselves. What are the trends? What advice do they have for our readers who are taking on a remodeling project in their home for the first time? What adds the most value to home? Let’s see what the experts had to say!
Home Equity Loans
For smaller remodel, or home improvements, Lincoln Federal Savings Bank (fnbo.com) (Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.) offers Home Equity Loans and HELOCs (Home Equity Line of Credit). Both products offer fixed or variable rate options and would not require that the first mortgage is paid off. Lincoln Federal Home Equity Loan proceeds are paid out in a lump sum and repaid over 10 to 15 years with the payments starting right away. Home Equity loans are best suited to pay for home improvement projects if the improvements you are making are pretty straight forward and can be done quickly, for example, new roof, windows, or deck.
“Our HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit) are available with a five-year draw period and a 15-year repayment period,” said Ben Huber, consumer loan officer at Lincoln Federal Savings Bank. “The rate can be fixed or variable during the draw period and is adjustable during the repayment period. During the draw period, borrowers make interest-only payments based only on what is borrowed on the line. The line of credit provides flexibility if the project is going to take longer to complete or if the costs are going to accrue over a period of time.”
According to Ben, a Lincoln Federal construction loan is probably the better option for more significant projects. This is an interest-only loan, and the loan proceeds are advanced through draws. After completion, the construction loan is usually paid from an equity loan or from a refinance of the mortgage. These options enable the customer to utilize the equity in their home to increase its value.
In terms of current market trends, Ben noted that purchase prices have been increasing with houses being listed and sold very quickly, so some homeowners are realizing that their best option is to stay in their current home and make home improvements. With rising home values, homeowners have the potential to use this new equity to update the interior or exterior of their current property.
“For people wanting to buy a home, with so many offers being made, sellers are expecting to see offers that are not contingent upon the sale of the buyer’s house and that buyers are ‘prequalified’ for a mortgage loan,” said Ben. “Lincoln Federal does have products for these situations. A Bridge loan utilizes the equity in the buyer’s current home to be used for the down payment on the new home. The Bridge loan is paid from the sale of the buyer’s current home. Lincoln Federal provides a free prequalification. Just contact any of our mortgage lenders.”
Ultimately, Ben confirmed that now is a great time to make these updates and to utilize the additional home equity.
“Many homeowners have refinanced their first mortgage with historically low mortgage rates in the last year or so,” said Ben. “A second mortgage is one way to take advantage of this situation without affecting the interest rate on their first mortgage.”
In addition, Ben shared that kitchen remodels and basement finishes are typically the types of improvements that add the most value to a home and adding livable square footage.
“Deck additions and flooring updates can also help with the appeal and value of the home,” said Ben. New exterior siding and window replacement can help with the upkeep and also add and renew the value to the home. Remodeling your home adds enjoyment to your current residence while boosting the home’s value without the hassle of moving into a new home. When homeowners are considering a refinance in the future, an appraiser will take these renovations into account when estimating their home’s new value.”
When asked what his one last piece of advice to customers considering a remodel would be, Ben said: “A higher home value means you’ll have more equity and a lower loan-to-value ratio for your next refinance or when you sell your house, not to mention the satisfaction that comes from the renovations. My last advice would be, while some projects may be done as DIY (do it yourself), most projects should be done by a professional.”
We couldn’t agree more! It can be tempting to try to do something yourself to save money, but what often happens is the project doesn’t get done right and time and money ends up getting wasted. So, it’s time to meet the professionals who can do the job right the first time!
Doing it Right the First Time
For those considering improving, redesigning, adding on, etc. to their home but have never done projects like these before, United Services Design & Build (unitedservicesohi.com)‘s Owner Mark Passer says to hire a local company with a brick and mortar presence in Omaha that stands behind their work.
“If something goes wrong during the installation or after you want to be assured that you can easily reach the company to address the issues,” said Mark. “Understand that when remodeling an existing structure, it is not uncommon for unexpected issues to arise. How the company you hire handles and addresses these issues is key to receiving quality workmanship.”
United Services Design & Build specializes in exterior makeovers. According to Mark, they’ve recently been doing a lot of James Hardie siding replacement and painting complimented by designer accents such as shake shingles, board and batten, custom-made wood shutters, modern house numbers, and soffit lights.
“Our professionally trained designers help our customers design a new paint color palette for their homes to add architectural interest and improve curb appeal,” said Mark.
United Services Design & Build offers full-service home improvements from roofing, siding, painting, and windows to kitchen and bath remodeling, making them a one-stop shop for homeowners wanting to keep their homes beautiful and well-maintained.
From Start to Finish
Another contractor in Omaha that offers superior remodeling services is Gitt Construction (gittdbr.com). What makes them unique is that they assign a design and project manager to every client they bring in, and they stay actively engaged with the project from start to finish. This way their clients can feel confident throughout the process and they end up with a customized finished product that lines up with their vision.
We have in-house and independent Interior Designers for all remodel projects we do,” said Tim Silknitter, owner of Gitt Construction. “We do whole home remodels and additions, kitchen, bathrooms, basements, and decks. No two projects look the same as they are all customized, creating even more value. Our designers specialize in timeless designs that will make your money back if and when you decide to sell your home. We usually avoid recommending what might be ‘trendy’ at certain time since trends are always changing. We’d rather play off of our clients’ unique taste.”
If you’re a first-time homeowner and you’re thinking about taking on a big project like a kitchen remodel or addition, Tim advises being prepared with a set budget, a list of your wants and needs, and a design vision for the finish product.
“Be aware of time frame and restrictions of space,” said Tim. “You should also be prepared to be a little flexible and, maybe most importantly, choose a remodeler who protects your home from dust, damage, and debris. We call this protecting the construction work and path zone. The last thing you want is the project to get done and you’re left with a big mess or even small damages to other parts of your home. At Gitt, we understand that remodeling is a messy and disruptive experience by its very nature. That is why we do everything we can to make your time during construction as easy to live through as possible. Majority of our customers live in their homes while the remodeling work is being completed, and while most people are somewhat prepared for the dust, noise, and disruption of the renovation, it can still be something that requires some adjusting. Gitt Construction’s commitment to livable remodeling helps to make some of the daily challenges of living in a construction site, a bit easier for you and your family. “
You can expect great communication when you work with Gitt Construction. All of their remodeling projects are assigned to Builder Trend software, their dedicated project management tool. A project superintendent will be assigned to manage your home’s remodel. In addition to working with your designer, who remains in consistent contact with you throughout the renovation, you will be working closely with your personal project superintendent. The superintendent plays a huge role in keeping you updated, keeping the project flowing smoothly, and answering the inevitable questions that arise during construction. As far as timing goes, to help give you a sense of what to expect, Gitt Construction provides their clients with an estimated schedule of how the work will progress, which includes the target completion date. What is so great about working with Gitt construction is the way they self-perform, which allows them to control the project completion date.
“We do the framing, carpentry, tile, you name it,” said Tim. “We’re involved every step of the way, from the design, construction, to completion. We know that you are anxious to make it through construction and enjoy the new space, so we do everything we can to help you get there as efficiently and quickly as possible.”
As mentioned before, bathrooms are a sweet spot of the home—they are where we spend a lot of our time! So we want those spaces to be functional and beautiful. Among the bathroom remodel trends we’re seeing 2021, big bathtubs and open showers are probably the most popular. If this is something you’re looking into for your bathroom at home, you don’t have to remodel the entire room to make tremendous upgrades to your bathroom’s visual and functional characteristics. Bath Fitter (bathfitter.com/us-en) has more than 35 years of experience installing the bathtub you’ve always wanted to upgrade the look of your bathroom.
“We specialize in tub solutions and tub-to-shower conversions that can be completed in as little as a day in most cases,” said Brandon Delaney, branch manager of Bath Fitter in Omaha. “We offer a better way to replace your bathtub and cover encompassing walls, plus add new bathroom fixtures. Clients are constantly amazed at how quickly we can make their entire bathrooms look completely new and modern.”
Bath Fitter’s acrylic bathtub liners go over your existing tub, eliminating the need for tub removal, so there is no demolition required. They can also convert your tub to a shower area, per your preference or if you need to achieve easier access. You can also choose from their collection of faucets, shower rods, soap dishes, ceilings, wainscoting, and more to achieve the look you’re going for.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to bring a home solution to people in Omaha that doesn’t require disturbing their lives or draining their pocketbooks,” Brandon said. “The customers we serve are always impressed with the quickness of our process, the look of the final product, and how we make sure to clean up when the job is done. In addition, all Bath Fitter products come with a lifetime warranty!”
If you’re looking for some bathroom inspiration, the Bath Fitter website has an awesome design gallery to get those wheels turning. Check it out!
Another Omaha company that works with a variety of residential remodeling contractors as their “go-to” plumbing contractor is Big Birge Plumbing (bigbirgeplumbing.com), and recently they’ve been doing a lot of bathroom remodels with customers opting to forgo their jacuzzi tubs for deep-seated beautiful clawfoot tubs.
“There have also been many customers that forgo a bathtub altogether and opt to put in a large walk-in steam shower,” said Owner Lallenia Birge. “Either way, the most important thing for people is that they feel comfortable in their bathrooms. It’s one of the more intimate rooms in the homes! Other trends I see include a lot of black accents and smart touch technology. Also, bidet toilets! We’ve done many installations of toilets with built-in bidets lately (and let me tell you…they are amazing to have!).”
In addition to meeting a range of clients’ unique wants and needs, there are many reasons why people choose to work with Big Birge Plumbing.
“As cliche as it may sound, we care,” said Lallenia. “It’s not a marketing slogan many companies use to get people to use their services. We truly care. Our team cares about the work they do, and they care about our customers. If we have a misstep, we do our best to try to make it right. We don’t want to be known as the plumbers who only care about making a profit or commission. This is why we don’t pay commission to our plumbers and why we do our best to keep our price fair and aligned with the benefits we are able to provide to our team members and their families. We know there are many plumbers to chose from out there, so we always trying to do the right thing and teaching our team the same. It goes a long ways.”
Lallenia’s candid advice to first-time remodelers is to expect delays. So if you’re planning on hosting a big holiday party or family reunion at your home, you want to make sure your starting your projects with plenty of buffer time in between any big events.
“As much as we want to say it will get done in the time frame you want it done in, delays tend to unavoidable,” said Lallenia. “If you have a hard set date you want it done by, try to get the project started at least 2-3 months prior depending on how big of a project it is. We do our best to keep on schedule or even ahead of schedule but when dealing with multiple contractors and human error, the timeline can get affected.”
“Also, keep in mind that the budget may change when something in the plan changes,” Lallenia said. “Sometimes, homeowners m change their mind halfway through the project, which is okay (usually), and we do our best to always tell them upfront and in writing of any change orders so there is no confusion when they get the final bill.”
Licensed, Bonded, and Fully Insured
When you select a general contractor for your residential remodeling project, make sure you are working with a company that is licensed, bonded, and fully insured. It really matters! You can feel at ease when you work with a company like TSR Construction (tsrconstructs.com). They are a Class A general contractor with a tradition of excellence in remodeling and construction.
“Our range of services include roofing, carpentry, electrical, painting, concrete, and flooring,” said TSR Owner Tony Reynolds. “We can handle all of your residential construction, design-build, and project management needs. Our in-house specialties include framing and finish carpentry, concrete, drywall, stucco, tile, and electrical.”
If you’re looking for a reliable contractor with extensive experience for your next project, turn to TSR Construction. Their team provides clients with personalized attention based on their specific needs. Get in touch for your consultation.
You don’t just want to feel good in your home, you want to be able to drive up and be proud of the exterior of your home as well. This means keeping up with the siding and roofing. Modern homes today are all about clean lines, striking accents, and the use of eco-friendly materials. According to Forbes’ contributors Geraldine Orentas and Samantha Allen, “using eco-friendly siding options is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and embrace green constructions. The good news is that most siding materials are eco-friendly, reusable, and recyclable. A steady trend in recent years is prioritizing durable building materials that require minor repairs or replacements. Homeowners are looking for quality features in exterior home design that are built to last and perform without failing.”
A trusted siding manufacturer operating right here in Omaha is Continental Manufacturing (continental-manufacturing.com), and they specialize in polymer siding which has more environmental benefits.
“If you’re shopping for new house siding, you may find yourself deciding between polymer and vinyl siding,” Continental Founder Jerry O’Neal. “Wood siding is costly and requires tiresome maintenance requirements, metal siding oftentimes offers poor insulation (from both heat transfer and noise infiltration), and certain types of fiber cement siding can absorb moisture, making it a no-go as well. At Continental, we recommend polymer siding. It is a relatively new addition to the marketplace, so many people don’t know exactly what it is and how it compares to vinyl siding.”
“Both polymer siding and vinyl siding are made using resin,” said Jerry. “However, polymer siding is made from polypropylene resin, which contains only two elements (hydrogen and carbon), while vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin that also contains chlorine. As such, between these two types of resin, polypropylene resin is better for the environment. Polymer siding is manufactured using an injection molding process, which allows for a wide variety of styles and textures (including shake and shingle designs). Vinyl siding, on the other hand, is often produced in standard horizontal and vertical panels.”
Whether you end up going with polymer or vinyl siding, you can find exactly what you need at Continental Manufacturing. They’re a mom-and-pop company that’s been in business since 1982, and they’re proud to hold a number of industry patents, including a patent for our state-of-the-art attaching system. They manufacture polymer and vinyl siding, both of which come with form-fitted insulation that’s specially engineered to deter termites and rodents. Continental Manufacturing is so confident in the quality of their siding that they provide a lifetime limited warranty.
Along with siding, roofing also matters. A new roof can be powerful marketing tool when selling your home. As a real estate agent will likely tell you, buyers appreciate a new roof because they know it will save them the hassle. For your roofing and exterior needs, you can count on Stonebrook Exterior () because everyone on their team is required to go through training to become Haag Certified Roofing Inspectors. This means they have the necessary skills and knowledge to accurately inspect your roof for damage and correctly evaluate that damage. Their team will work with you through the entire process, from discovering your needs, to assisting you in the selection of a quality product.
In Stonebrook’s residential construction operation, they offer a diverse range of services including roofing, siding, windows, gutters and more. This allows them to customize their delivery to individually match the unique needs of each residential client. One of their top priorities is client satisfaction. When it comes to roofing, they want to take the guesswork out of choosing the right contractor. Reach out to Stonebrook Exteriors for a free quote evaluation and estimate.
Keeping it Clean & Classy
Any kind of home construction/remodel project can be a messy process and having strangers using your restrooms might feel a bit invasive, but redbox+ of Omaha (redboxplus.com/omaha) addresses these concerns with their combination portable toilet and dumpster roll-off. The first of their kind available in the Omaha, Council Bluffs, and Lincoln area, these roll-offs are specifically designed for use on commercial and residential construction sites, and they are truly a unique product. The bright red, powder-coated containers, which are manufactured in the U.S., are meticulously designed for durability.
“We provide our Standard and Elite (with two porta potties) containers for residential and commercial clean up and remodeling,” said redbox+ of Omaha President Mark Fredrickson. “Our Elite containers are patent and redbox+ is the only place you will be able to find this unique solution to both of your job site needs. The job site image can be a selling point. Our bright red, powder coated containers exemplify professionalism, and our Elite container can double as an advertising billboard. Ask us about our repeat customer advertising/branding opportunity! Don’t go with the cheapest. Get referrals and go with trusted professionals.”
Hopefully, after hearing from the experts, you feel a lot better heading in to your next remodeling project! We all want our house to feel like a home, and this happens through great construction and design efforts—and they don’t have to break the bank. You can work with local companies to turn your existing space into something off of your Pinterest board.