Permits Secured and Ready to Launch

Remember my big project in Irvine, the house I pretty much tore down to the studs?  Wondering why you haven’t heard about it for a while?  Permits.  The city and I were doing the Cha Cha for the better part of the last three weeks while I secured the necessary permits for the remodel.

Permits are a vital part of the construction process for major remodels because they
ensure that what’s being built complies with national, regional and local building codes.  Not all remodeling projects require permits, but for those that do, there’s no getting around them, nor would you want to.  Construction done without permits where required can result in significant fines and penalties.  The city might even come in and demo the unauthorized construction – something neither a homeowner nor a contractor ever want to see.

But more important, permits ensure that what your contractor is building is safe. It’s kind of like a checks and balance system, only it works a lot better than Washington does, but we’re still hopeful about that one.

In Irvine, we needed an electrical permit and a full building permit for the construction.  We had planned on leaving the electricity as is, in which case we would not have needed the permit.  But as the scale of the project grew and we decided to put in more lights throughout the house, we upgraded to a 200 Amp panel, and that’s what the permit allowed.

What will that mean for the clients?  Well, suppose they’re having a party one night.
They’ve got lights on in the backyard and throughout the house.  DJ’s pumping some tunes, or maybe there’s a band.  Hors d’oeuvres are warming in the oven, air conditioner’s on, dishwasher’s going, you get the picture. One of the guests decides to turn on the bubbles in the Jaccuzzi and BAM!  Circuit overload and bye bye electricity.   And that’s when the real fun starts: people start falling over each other in the dark, drinks are spilling, food’s flying, glasses breaking – pretty ugly.

That won’t happen with a 200 Amper.  This guy is Superman; really powerful.  The breakers won’t jump, lights and music will stay on and the party will continue well into the night.

The other permit is for the construction, and now that that’s secured, we can start
the framing.  Framing is basically where we build support walls out of wood which will allow us to knock down other walls to create an open floor plan.

You can see what I mean with these photos of the framing in the dining room.   In the original home, a wall separated the kitchen and dining room (where the oven is), and you had to step down to the sunken living room.

 

That separating wall is now a relic of the past, and we decided to lower the dining room floor three feet so that it will be flush with the living room.  What will be left is a beautiful,
open space in which the dining area can be extended out (because this family
entertains BIG).  Plus, the higher ceiling will make the house feel much more spacious.

I know, it doesn’t look like much, but really friends, this is progress.

Here in the family room, you can see another example of framing.  This family room was huge.  Remember this?

We cut down the space a bit to make it more manageable (I do have a 68” TV that would have been perfect for this room but my wife wouldn’t let me give it away), still leaving plenty of seating and entertaining area.  By doing that, we expanded what
used to be the laundry room on the other side, and now we have plenty of room
to make a nice office that can also be used as a guest room.  The wall will go up soon, but here’s the wood frame.

So that’s where we are.  Lots of dust, dirt and wood, but believe me, it will be worth it.

We’ll be finishing up the framing this week which will give shape to the final layout.  We’ll also be installing the new plumbing for the bathrooms we’re building in the master
suite and fourth bedroom, as well as for the kitchen, and we’ll finalize the placement of the light fixtures and exhaust fans.  If you’re a Bob the Builder type, you’ll find this stuff fascinating.  If not, stay tuned anyway because soon we’ll get to the interior design part – colors, tiles, flooring, etc.  The client has some ideas but will be looking for some input from YOU, so be sure to keep reading and don’t forget to share my blog with your friends.

Got a major renovating project in mind in Los Angeles, Orange or Riverside
counties?  Contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or
doron@edenflooring.com for a free estimate or design consultation.

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Getting the Home You Want and the Money to Fix it Up

Have you ever seen a fixer upper that you knew had a lot of potential but you just didn’t think you had the budget to both purchase it and make it the home you knew it could be?  Then I’d like to share with you one of real estate’s best kept secrets (well, maybe not a secret, since it’s been around for years and has put homeownership in reach for many who couldn’t afford it otherwise, but it was new to me until not that long ago).

FHA 203k loans are home loans backed by the U.S. government. Simply put, they let
you purchase a home and finance up to $35,000 in renovations and repairs in a single loan.

Why is that important?  Renovating with an FHA loan means that you can do the work in your house without dipping into your savings.  Imagine being able to remodel your home to make it exactly what you want – and not going broke to do it.  There are some limitations, mind you.  203k loans won’t let you put in a resort-style pool with swim-up bar and cabanas covered in palm leaves.  But you can get that beautiful new kitchen or
bathroom you’ve longed for, or make your home environmentally kind by using green
appliances and materials.

Another advantage is that 203k’s may be easier than getting a mortgage plus a second
renovation loan – and you know how much paperwork and hassle multiple loans can
be (plus they give the banks more opportunities to say “no”).  Dealing with the FHA may mean that you’ll get a lower interest rate than you would on a regular loan. These loans may also require a lower down payment – between 3.5-10% – than a conventional loan, for better or for worse, depending on your situation.  For someone with shaky credit, this may be the way to go, since 203k’s have a lower credit requirement.  And since you’re looking at homes that need work, you may be able to negotiate a really good deal, especially when the seller knows it needs work and isn’t willing to put the money into it.

Of course, like anything, 203k’s have some disadvantages.  First, they can take longer to secure, sometimes up to 45 days.  You might also incur costs such as having the home appraised and getting an estimate from an approved lender for the renovations you intend to do.  Finally, because 203k’s have safety guidelines, you might have to pay for repairs and improvements you hadn’t planned on (and that aren’t nearly as much fun), such as replacing faulty wiring or removing lead paint.

All in all, 203k’s are a good solution for some people, especially those want to purchase a home but can’t afford one that is turn key, as well as for those who really want to create something truly their own.  If you think this is for you, talk to your real estate agent.  If you don’t have one, or if yours isn’t fully versed on 203k’s, let me know.  I can recommend some great ones.

I thought I’d share with you today a staircase we did recently in Irvine – I think it’s just beautiful.  The homeowner had old, worn-out carpeting on the stairs and wanted to pull it out and do something a bit more dramatic, but he didn’t want the expense of hardwood.  Stairs are a high traffic area, so I often recommend installing laminate, a multi-layered, wood-based flooring system that is strong a durable, resists scratches much better than wood, and can typically stand the wear and tear of kids and pets that would be no match for hardwood.

The client chose a rich, 12 mm red ancient pine laminate which we put only on the tread, leaving an elegant contract between the tread and the riser.

 

Beautiful.  And see how wonderful the stairs look against the wood banister.

 

Cutting the laminate for the treads is hard work, but so worth it.  I just love it!

Here’s just one more view.

More next time about our big Irvine remodel, where some behind-the-scenes electrical rewiring and plumbing is taking place to get ready for the new bathroom and recessed lighting that will go up through the house.  Thought I’d spare you the photo of hanging wires and toilet pipes.  Stay tuned.

To get a beautiful, durable staircase like the one you see above, contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or doron@edenflooring.com.