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You don’t have to spend a lot of money…

Posted May 12 2013 by Bob Gruning

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When was the last time a remodeling contractor advised you to spend a lot less money? This is usually as unrealistic as Kanye West trying to be polite or North Korea not making nuclear threats daily.

 

I am going to use examples of changes I made in my own house. I could have gone full throttle remodel (that rhymes and I do have my own fantastic crew) but that is not always necessary depending on what you are trying to accomplish and the budget you wish to spend (or not spend).

 

I’ll start with my kitchen. Rather than tear everything out down to the studs and take on the costly replacement of cabinets, flooring, backsplash etc, we just wanted an updated look from our original polished brass knobs, handles, hinges, door accessories – and boy did we have a lot of them (kitchen is a healthy size – did you ever count your knobs???).

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Is "no news" really "good news"?

Posted Mar 12 2013 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

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Old sayings like “no news is good news” are great for people that have their heads in the sand or are on so many government pension programs that they are content doing nothing and accomplishing nothing! I love our country but our system is so damn broken. Two terms maximum and only 1 pension please and the same benefits or lack thereof that we middle class get and… when did the government get so freaking big anyway? Also stop throwing around “job creation” and “adding jobs” instead of addressing jobs that are actually equivalent to the ones we lost. Adding a bunch of minimum wage positions that put people at the poverty level if they are supporting a family do not jumpstart the economy! But they do look good for decreasing the unemployment rate – seriously - typical double speak from both parties – it really makes me sick.

 

So what does this have to do with home improvement/remodeling and contractors you ask? Well let’s get back to the original topic. No news can often be bad news as I see it.

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Remodeling Dollars and Sense

Posted Jan 29 2013 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

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When it comes to remodeling projects, you can make it as smooth and relatively stress free as possible or you can create a situation worse than the smog in China.

 

If you take on an improvement such as a remodeled bathroom or kitchen or a new deck, do you really think you know everything you could be getting into? If you hesitated like a politician struggling to give a straight answer then the few dollars you may think you will save now will be lost and gone faster than true immigration reform or term limits.

 

A truly professional remodeling contractor will save you time and money. Starting with design assistance to then getting the right permits to coordination of materials, licensed plumbers/electricians, inspections, to finished product, the process is down to a science when it is handled by someone who does this for a living.

 

So where do some homeowners try to cut corners to save a few bucks when in fact the opposite is probably true?

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Why are you really remodeling?

Posted Jan 01 2013 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

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Does anyone really have disposable income anymore? We are all faced with our own fiscal cliffs every day (but we actually do come to terms with them as opposed to our elected officials who are supposed to be representing our best interests – wow, there’s another topic!) so what are the main reasons to take on that remodeling project that will tap your funds?....

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Do What You Say You Are Going To Do...

Posted Dec 18 2012 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

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So when did it become so fashionable to be inconsiderate, irresponsible, say-anything-and-follow-through-on-nothing type people? Is this the next evolution of the 80’s greed and “it’s all about me” way of doing business? And why do we put up with it?

It’s your time to say you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore (anyone remember that film?). This goes for people potentially doing business with you to people not returning your calls to even magazines sending you a special bonus double issue then skipping the next month (do they really think we are that stupid?). Most of the silent majority has the don’t rock the boat demeanor that has perpetuated the garbage that goes on, so really it’s our own fault if we never speak up and demand basic manners in all walks of life.

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What I learned from Sandy –

Posted Nov 10 2012 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

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After 8 days of no power I finally have heat and can flush a toilet. Now I know that my suffering was nothing compared to some and my heart goes out to them but for the sake of this writing I will share what I have learned so you all can benefit or at least co-miserate.

 

First off, I now have a severe loathing for JCP&L and Comcast. The former for not keeping anyone informed with any type of updated information and the latter because 11 days later I still have no cable, internet, or phone service due to some issue in my area  - you see I was one of those idiots who did the triple play and now EVERYTHING has been down and they can’t even tell me when it may be back! 

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Contractor Danger Signs

Posted Nov 10 2012 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

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So let’s face it – not everyone is totally 100% honest! Are you shocked?

 

Your potential contractor drives up in a commercial vehicle that looks the part and has the company name all over it but does it have a NJ contractor license number on it? This 13VH multi-digit number is supposed to be there – it is the law in NJ – so if it is not then is he really licensed? And what does this license really mean anyway?

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You’ve hired a contractor so who is in your home?

Posted Nov 10 2012 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

 

Here’s something you didn’t expect - you have decided on who you will move forward with on your improvement project and your home is now in need of a translator that may only exist on Star Trek. If communication and trust are paramount during your remodel adventure then you don’t need the challenge and stress of wondering exactly who is doing the work you signed up for and what language are they speaking or not speaking. You should also be wondering if these possible day-workers are insured under your contractor’s workers compensation and liability insurance – which you checked out before hiring this professional, right?

 

Picture this: you are in the middle of your project and there is something that needs to be changed (it happens) and the person you signed on with is not around while the people in your home are trying their best but have no idea what you are talking about (but they are smiling at you while your blood pressure rises). How did you get to this point and what could you have done to avoid it?

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How to find the RIGHT contractor

Posted Nov 10 2012 by Bob Gruning
Updated: Apr 03 2013

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Your bathroom stinks, the kitchen isn’t cooking anymore, and the deck looks like something out of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  There is a remodel project on your list but you’ve heard so many horror stories – contractors who don’t show up, charge more than originally estimated, have your money and never come back – so where do you look for the right contractor?

This is like dating if you remember back that far. Do you really want to call people from the back of the newspaper or from a website if you don’t really know if they have what it takes or in this case, are claiming to have 35 years experience when they are only 29 years old! Anyone can say anything or if your paranoia really kicks in, anyone can cut and paste a picture of a completed job onto their website when the work wasn’t even done by them. 

 

So here is where to start:

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