Get a Good Return on Your Renovation Investment with Window Treatments in Austin, TX and Other Features

Life would be a lot easier for everyone if homes simply held their worth and evolved like a self-sustaining eco-system. Unfortunately that is not the case, and homeowners have to view the roof over their head as an asset whose value can fluctuate with every turn of the calendar. It’s easy to forget that, even if you make a renovation, it doesn’t necessarily mean a guaranteed ROI down the line. Luckily, things like window treatments in Austin, TX and other investments in home improvements can go a long way towards increasing the value of your home.

Many people look at the neighborhood they live in as a key indicator of their home value, but these six renovation ideas are perfect examples of things you can take into your own hands:

• Rebuild the organs: Although it isn’t in view to the open eye, old and decrepit plumbing can plummet the value of your home. New technology has made replacing old piping easier and more affordable than in the past, making it more of an expectation.

• Window treatments: You can never underestimate the importance of window treatments in Austin, TX, so don’t ignore the impact of the scorching hot summers. There are a variety of options from drapes to shades that, if done right, can provide the perfect ambiance.

• Kitchen comes first: It isn’t a coincidence that one of the first places people judge a house on is the kitchen. The layout is just as important as the appliances, so make sure you take every aspect into account before making a renovation. No detail is too little!

• Don’t forget the garage: Even if the garage is just a place you park your cars and store some tools, it should never go forgotten. Garage improvements have one of the highest ROIs among all renovation projects and represent your house in the same way as a front door.

• Never enough bathrooms: Are you done in there yet? According to the National Association of Homebuilders, something as simple as adding a half bathroom can boost your home value by 10.5 percent. If you don’t have the space, then consider improvements to the style, like an additional sink or new fixtures.

• Exterior design: You often hear the term “interior design,” but make sure you don’t forget about the exterior of your home, too. Your landscaping is the first thing a visitor will see, and it can leave an understated impression on the house. This is an instance where potential buyers will certainly judge a book by its cover.

Now that you are thinking about your house as an investment rather than just as a shelter from the storm, it’s important to remember minor decisions can have an impact on your home’s value over time. Although renovations can be a result of immediate needs, it’s not a project done right unless you keep the future in mind as well. Watermark & Company values the importance of ROI when undertaking any project and has a deep understanding of the house as an asset, not just a place you rest your head. Call us today to learn more about window treatments in Austin, TX and the other services we can provide for your home.

What Type of Window Treatments in Austin, TX Are Best for Your Home?

If you’ve ever felt the hot Texas sun blazing through your windows, raising the temperature in your home, you know the importance of a good window treatment. Being able to shut the blinds or pull the drapes closed on that sun does wonders for your comfort level and quality of life on a bright, sunny day!

But which window treatment is right for your home? With so many to choose from, many homeowners often resign to picking the cheapest option or the one that best matches their décor. In reality, making the right choice means putting a little more consideration into vetting each option. Let’s take a look at a few window treatments in Austin, TX and which situations they’re best suited for.

Wood blinds

If you’re seeking a long-term investment that’s going to pay dividends in style, functionality and quality, wood blinds are a great place to start. You’ll pay a higher upfront cost to get this type of treatment in your home, but that initial price tag is mitigated by the long life and durability that wood embodies. In addition, wood blinds are easy to operate (slat design) and can be highly customized to meet your décor.

The cons of wood blinds? If applied to large windows, they can look drab and uninspiring. Cost is also a major barrier for homeowners looking to outfit multiple rooms with this option.

Drapes

Perhaps the simplest of all window treatments in Austin, TX, drapes are also extremely customizable and can add to a room’s décor fundamentals. The cost of drapery is also very low—in fact, you can even DIY drapes if you’re crafty and thrifty enough! Drapes are also great at completely impeding sunlight.

The drawbacks here are the flimsy nature of drapes. If you have kids or pets, expect your drapery to suffer. Drapery can also become very dirty with time and requires washing (sometimes professionally). Also, drapes are usually an “all or nothing” window treatment when it comes to the amount of sunlight they let in.

Shades

Shades are the most advanced option for window treatments in Austin, TX and come with a bevy of technologies to support them. Remote controlled blinds are extremely popular, as well as sun-sensitive shades that increase or decrease tint based on the heat sensed on incoming sunlight. Shades are also ideal for larger windows and are a cost-effective whole-home solution when chosen sans technology.

The downfall of drapes is their simplistic, often subpar appearance—unless paired with drapes, they can look very minimalistic and unimpressive. Technology trends are also increasing the price of shades as you climb your way up the quality ladder.

Picking the right option

Choosing the right window treatment for your home comes down to assessing the pros and cons of each and weighing them against the atmosphere of your home. Are you trying to block out an intense Texas sun, or are you looking to enhance your décor? Do you have pets who might disrupt your window treatments? Are you looking to make a grand investment that will pay off in the long run? All of these questions and more are important to consider.

If you need help picking window treatments in Austin, TX, consult with the professionals at Watermark & Company today. We have experience in helping you get to the bottom of your choices, so you’re left with the best one for you and your home.

Utilize Your Home’s Storage to Its Fullest with Proper Home Organization in Austin, TX

If there’s one thing every homeowner wishes for, it’s a few extra square feet of space in each room of their home. It seems like we’re always running out of places to put things, which is frequently why attics, basements and garages become secondary storage areas instead of being utilized as functional spaces. Sure, you can always throw stuff out to free up space, but what happens when there’s more to keep than space available in your home?

The secret to getting the best of both worlds—keeping all of your possessions and freeing up critical space—is mastering home organization in Austin, TX. This means getting into an organized mindset first and foremost, and following through with practical solutions. Before you get started organizing, however, it’s important to know the options you have available to you and how they can best be leveraged in your home:

Cabinets: Cabinets are a best-fit storage solution for bathrooms and kitchens. However, they can also be applied elsewhere in your home where you’re running into a need for organization. Cabinets work to not just put things out of sight—they’re also your first option for compartmentalization. Being able to neatly organize items within cabinets means having easy access to them when you need them, and not having to deal with them cluttering up your living space in the meantime.
Closets: The concept of a closet isn’t new either, but it’s important to realize how you might be under-utilizing the closets in your home. Consider installing shelving, racks, drawers and more in your closets to create a tailored storage solution. Whether it’s storage for excess bathroom supplies or a smart way to house your seasonal attire during the offseason, closets are a critical pillar of home organization in Austin, TX.
Racking and shelves: In areas like the garage or basement, racking or shelving are quick and efficient ways to get things up off the floor and organized at the same time. Being able to organize items in a tiered way also helps to promote easy accessibility—no more bending over and breaking your back to pick up boxes or totes!
Hooks: Though you’re limited as to what you can organize and store via hooks, they’re incredibly useful when applied appropriately. Hang clothing, flags, banners, linens and more on hooks to keep them wrinkle-free while in storage, or just to make them accessible when you need them. Bags can also benefit from hooks!

Now that you understand a few of the most common options for home organization in Austin, TX, it’s time to put them to use in your home. Look at areas where you’re sacrificing square footage and try to envision those items in proper storage, whether it involves using a cabinet, closet, shelf or hook.
Is your home lacking viable storage options due to design? No problem! The home organization experts at Watermark & Company will gladly come to assess your floorplan, to see where we might be able to help you add any or all of the above features. We can help you reclaim your home’s square footage!

The Best Investments You Can Make When Building a Home

Congratulations! You’ve decided to build a brand new home with home builders in Austin, TX. While you’re probably eagerly thinking about what you’d like each room to look like and thinking about which of your existing furniture items you’d like to bring with you, don’t forget to also take time to think through the work you can have performed to help ensure that you’re putting as much value as possible into your new house.

By paying more upfront for some of these services now, you’re providing your home with a better shelf life and bringing the best value to you and your family when it comes time for assessment and appraisal. The following items might give you some ideas of the valuable investments that could make sense for your home.

Go for real wood floors

Homes with real wood floors can be especially attractive to potential buyers. Ask your flooring professional about different types of wood and the variety of staining options that may be available.

Outfitting your home with real wood floors now while your new home is still being built can save you time and energy later. If deciding on new flooring is something you wait on until you’re already comfortably living in your new home, the flooring process will cause changes to your existing routine and how you are able to use your space during the period the work is being performed.

Add more light

If you don’t feel like your new home is receiving enough light, chances are that future potential buyers won’t, either. There’s an easy fix to this solution—a lighting professional can install recessed lighting in rooms like the bathrooms and kitchen to give your home a brighter appearance.

If you feel a smaller lighting change is the way to go, a lighting professional can install dimmer switches in one or more rooms.

Install an updated HVAC unit

If you plan to be in your new home for a long time, installing an updated furnace or HVAC unit can result in rebates and energy savings. Down the line, an HVAC unit that has been updated will likely be seen as a desirable feature by the home’s next potential buyers.

Install updated plumbing

According to the experts, plumbing is often an important consideration for appraisers in determining the value of your home. Making sure your plumbing is as updated as possible is a smart solution.

Many modern plumbing repairs and updates can be performed in a much more streamlined fashion than in the past and may cost less than you are expecting.

Insulate your attic

Did you know that if your attic has poor insulation, about 30% of the air produced by your furnace is essentially wasted? Insulating your attic is a fairly straightforward project for professionals.

If you have any questions about these services and how they can add value to your new home, would like a quote or are ready to request an appointment with home builders in Austin, TX, contact the experts at Watermark & Company at 512-222-3229. We offer architectural and interior design services, custom home building, whole home renovations, room additions, kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling.

Five Reasons Not to be Your Own General Contractor in Austin, TX

If you’re planning a large home renovation project, are you considering serving as your own general contractor rather than hiring a professional? While overseeing the project on your own may seem like a logical solution, it can become very easy for things to go off track, making the process of hiring a general contractor a more sensible choice.

Here’s why hiring a general contractor for your home renovation project in Austin, TX, is a better idea than taking on your own project.

  1. Relying on someone else saves you time and energy: General contractors need to know the order in which subcontractors must perform their respective tasks. They are also responsible for scheduling the work and the materials, knowing which materials need to be ordered and placing the order.

Hiring a general contractor ensures that the professional you work with will be familiar with the ins and outs of working with subcontractors and can handle the day-to-day project management. In addition, working with materials and knowing what to order will be second nature for them. All of this saves you time, not to mention energy.

  1. Your costs can be significantly reduced: Some homeowners opt to function as their own general contractors to spend less money on the typical fee paid to a professional (about 10-25 percent of a project’s overall cost). However, buying or bidding on every service or material individually, rather than allowing a professional general contractor to perform the process for you, quickly adds up.

From a subcontracting perspective, a subcontractor working with a general contractor frequently charges this professional quite a bit less (around 10-15%) than the amount they would charge if they worked with you directly as a homeowner serving as your project’s general contractor. This means that it’s quite likely that you would not receive the savings you anticipated.

  1. You may have difficulty hiring subcontractors: It’s not uncommon for electricians, landscapers, plumbers and other home renovation professionals to prioritize accepting jobs from general contractors. Accepting these jobs first gives them steadier work, so they may not be as eager to take on business directly from a homeowner.
  2. You will have fewer people to oversee: If you function as your own general contractor, you’ll be responsible for researching everyone that you work with, choosing who is the best fit and then working with them accordingly.

A general contractor will manage subcontractors for you and have the experience to handle scheduling, as well as any logistical issues that may arise.

  1. You will experience fewer headaches when work needs to be redone: Because a general contractor provides warranties on the work they—or the subcontractors they hire—complete, you’ll receive replacement work or products at no charge if a task is performed incorrectly. If you serve as your own general contractor, however, you’ll be responsible for any charges if a product malfunctions or a service is performed incorrectly.

Now that you know more about the benefits of hiring a general contractor in Austin, TX, we invite you to learn about the services we offer at Watermark & Company. We look forward to helping you ensure that your home renovation project is a success! Contact us today at 512-222-3229.

Be Prepared for Your Home Additions in Austin, TX

Home additions are exciting. You likely look forward to the additional space, whether it is for a workshop, craft room or a screened-in porch. However, you need to be prepared before the project begins and know what to expect when it is in progress. Here is how you can be better prepared for home additions in Austin, TX and assure the process is completed in a smooth and timely manner:

  • Have a vision: Never go into any remodeling project without a plan. Start with what you see as missing in your home. Do you need a home office? More craft space? A playroom? Having a purpose will define the addition or the required change. For the technologically driven, there are computer-aided design programs for consumers to help you get an idea of possible layouts and floor plans so you can better explain your ideas to a designer. In these early stages, do not be afraid to ask for help. General ideas can lead to more specific details if you speak with a professional in this field.
  • Review options: Additional square footage may appear to be your only solution, but there could be more cost-effective options available. Your remodeling efforts could get the same results by using space better. Rather than a larger home office, perhaps you only require built‑in cabinets or more electrical outlets. Improved closets in a master bedroom can eliminate furniture so there is more room for a sitting area. Basically, if you can change your home without ripping out entire walls, that could be a preferable course of action.
  • Be decisive: This is not a good time to change your mind at the last minute. Designs must pass a permit process, and if you decide on another course of action, those ideas will need to be put through that review again. Permits can be time-consuming and expensive, so make sure the final plans match your vision before embarking on them.
  • Choose materials: Insulation, electrical parts, foundations and windows are up to the contractor. The benefits and disadvantages of certain materials will be reviewed with you first, so prepare to make decisions in that area as well. Aesthetic materials like countertops and flooring will be up to you, as well as any interior or exterior paint choices. If you get hung up on these decisions, go back to your original reasons for the additions. That will help you determine what you require more: durability or an attractive appearance.
  • Fully anticipate the finished product: There will be disruption. Dust, noise and people moving on- and offsite will be your reality until the additions are completed. You will also need to assure the safety of any animals in your home and be aware of progress. If you have doubts about quality standards or deadlines, ask your contractor. There is likely a good explanation for anything that appears irregular.

Watermark & Company offers a design build approach to home additions in Austin, TX. If you would like to discuss your ideas with an experienced contractor, call us to request a consultation and a project quote.

Shower Designs to Consider During Bathroom Remodeling in Austin, TX

If you are already putting time and money into bathroom remodeling in Austin, TX, it is likely that you are looking into a new shower, too. The typical bath-and-shower combination can get boring after a while or may lack the desired accessibility. Here are six ideas for showers in your newly modernized bathroom:

  • The frameless enclosure: Framed shower enclosures are common because they are low-cost and durable. If you lived in rental properties, you likely had a framed shower door. However, getting a frameless enclosure will look better and also be easier to maintain. There are fewer crevices for mold to hide in, and these types of enclosures only need a quick occasional wipe-down. If your bathroom is small with fewer options for change, this is one minor adjustment that can make a big difference.
  • Tile and glass: If you decide on a frameless enclosure, your possibilities expand further. Choose colorful decorative tile to create an art piece of a shower. Using different colors and patterns, you can assemble tile mosaics. People who remodel on a budget but desire more color and décor in their bathrooms often rely on a combination of tile and glass to create that look.
  • Add texture: Frosted glass is common and homeowners like it for privacy. However, it often lacks in the style department. Textured glass is a better alternative. It offers privacy, but also more transparency, so light disburses better. You can find patterns similar to running water or choose geometric shapes. There are even animal or celestial themes available in textured glass.
  • Go industrial: Some customers want a truly modern look. Aluminum and glass combinations in your bathroom create an industrial style that often presents well in recently refurbished historic homes or lofts. The aluminum framing can create many different patterns that are only limited by imagination and preference. There is even the possibility of casting shadow patterns throughout your bathroom.  People who are looking for something slightly different often enjoy this approach.
  • The igloo effect: Glass blocks are another fun alternative to mainstream shower doors. Resembling blocks of ice, this material stacks to create shower spaces that do not have doors. The walls themselves control water flow and the glass adds texture to the bathroom. If you have a larger bathroom, glass blocks are very versatile and you can choose different layouts. Some customers like to go with the typical ice fort look, while others embrace octagons and other eclectic shapes. Layouts are only limited by space and your imagination.
  • No enclosure: If you are prepared for something truly new, go without the shower enclosure. Rather than invest in a new door, tuck your shower up against a wall, add a tile wall to control water and create the ultimate walk-in shower experience. This design is very accessible for people with mobility issues and it allows space for a shower bench. For additional luxury, add a heated floor and heat lamp, too.

Watermark & Company are your design build specialists for bathroom remodeling in Austin, TX. To update any space in your home, call us for a consultation and quote today.

Talk to Your Remodeling Contractor in Austin, TX About Avoiding Scope Creep

When you are remodeling a part of your house, time and budget are the two factors that influence the success of the project. Keeping these two items in check during all phases of the construction process can mean the difference in whether your project experiences scope creep or not. Scope creep is when the budget and timeline for your remodeling project gets inflated, by adding more and more work, causing it to get overblown and out of reach. When working with a remodeling contractor in Austin, TX, here are some ways to ensure scope creep doesn’t happen to you:

  • Define the project: Speak to your remodeling contractor in Austin, TX about the expected costs associated with the scope of your remodeling project. Don’t rely on guesstimates to assume what your remodel will cost. Get hard facts from a professional about what the projected timeline and costs will be to complete your project as you envision it.
  • Identify your budget: Pinpoint every cost that will be associated with your remodeling project. A remodeling contractor in Austin, TX should be able to give you a breakdown so you can see where your funds are going. Keep in mind that while construction costs may be the largest part of your budget, they are not the total budget. You want to have money left for decorating, landscaping and furniture.
  • Plan for splurges: Think about the areas of your remodel that are important to you, and plan to splurge on some items to make them special to you. Pick features that you will enjoy and that will make an impact on the room you are remodeling. Plan this into your budget.
  • Think about alternatives: While it is tempting to keep adding to your budget, especially when you find something spectacular that you want include in your remodel, if you truly must incorporate your find into your plan, talk to your remodeling contractor in Austin, TX about other areas where you can cut costs to accommodate your new request. It’s about tradeoffs and staying on track for budget and time.
  • Have a contingency plan in place: Be prepared for hiccups to arise in the construction phase of your remodel. Problems can occur and can eat into your budget. Have a plan in place for these challenges by dedicating 15 to 20 percent of your budget to these sorts of issues. As the project progresses and you feel comfortable about its direction, you can reallocate a portion of these funds, as fewer contingency funds will be needed toward the end of the remodel.

By planning ahead and sticking to your budget, you can avoid scope creep in your remodeling project. Communicate with your remodeling contractor in Austin, TX about your expectations and what you expect to spend. Stick with this plan and forego extravagant additions to the project. For your next remodeling venture, contact Watermark & Company, an award-winning design and build firm serving the Austin, TX area. We specialize in custom home building and residential remodeling.

What Should You Look for When Financing a Design Build Project?

If you are building a new home rather than purchasing an existing home, the loans you need to acquire to finance the construction and then the mortgage of the home are different than a traditional home mortgage. It can be a complex process to understand, and requires some thought regarding the approach you want to take. When developing a design build in Austin, TX, you need to consider your timeline for the project and the budget you have set forth.

Design build loan options

Unlike a traditional mortgage, for a design build in Austin, TX, you will need to secure a construction loan. While with a traditional mortgage you pay interest and monies towards the principal each month, a construction loan acts as a line of credit from which you make draw requests for the amount you need for the length of time designated for the construction of your home. During this time, you only pay interest on the amount you have borrowed.

Once your design build in Austin, TX has been completed, you will need to convert your construction loan to a mortgage loan for the full amount you have borrowed to complete your home. Interest rates for your loan are calculated by looking at your credit, income, financial history and the amount of equity being created in the home you are building.

Depending on the size of your construction loan, you will receive either a conforming mortgage or non-conforming mortgage. A conforming mortgage is for less than $417,000, and finding a lender for this is typically pretty easy. A non-conforming mortgage is for more than $417,000, and it can be trickier to find a lender that will fund your project, as the rules for this size loan are stricter.

Types of construction loans

When securing your construction loan, you will be able to select between a one-step and two-step loan. With a one-step loan, you will use the same lender for both your construction and mortgage loans, closing on both loans in one step. This type of loan relies on the fact that you know exactly how long your design build in Austin, TX will take, and exactly how much it will cost. There is no amount of flexibility in terms of time or loan amount, requiring you to be certain on the terms of your home project.

A two-step loan is more flexible as it splits the construction loan and mortgage into two separate transactions. You complete the construction of your home, and then close on a mortgage. A two-step loan is also more accommodating to the final cost of the home, allowing you to make additional changes as you go. Time is also more flexible, giving you the ability to take more time to complete the construction of your home in case of delays.

Navigating the financial waters of a design build in Austin, TX will be easier if you know the basics regarding the options that are available to you for lending. Make an appointment with Watermark & Company to discuss your design build or remodel project. We are a locally owned and operated general contractor in business since 2004.

Five Qualities to Look for in a General Contractor in Austin, TX

Are you in need of a general contractor in Austin, TX to do some work at your home? If so, you will want to make sure that you find one who works with your needs and fits your expectations. With a plethora of general contractors to choose from, it is good to know what qualities are important when selecting a contractor to work on your home. Here are five to look for:

  • On the job experience: When looking for a general contractor in Austin, TX, you want to select one who has experience handling the type of job you need completed. They should have completed similar jobs in the past and should be skilled in working efficiently and accurately. You can ask about how long they have been in business to get an idea of what their past history may be like.
  • Ask for recommendations: Ask friends and family for recommendations on a general contractor in Austin, TX who has done work for them. Getting first-hand information on a general contractor who has done good work is a good indication that they will do the same for you. Building inspectors are another good source for recommendations, as they see general contractors’ work when doing inspections and will have knowledge of many contractors in your community.
  • Look for flexibility: This is especially important if you are working under a time constraint. You want a general contractor in Austin, TX who will complete the work in the timeframe they have set, even if this means working extra hours to get the job done. Ask the general contractor you are considering hiring about how they manage their time and what guarantee they place on getting the work done ahead of the deadline. You should be able to get a good understanding of what to expect in terms of work schedule and completion.
  • Good communication skills: Since you are the one giving the direction on your project, you want a general contractor who can answer your questions and listen to what you are asking for. You don’t want any miscommunication regarding what you are trying to have accomplished, and you want to make sure they understand all of your needs. Look for a general contractor in Austin, TX who can communicate with you easily, so you can be sure you’ll be comfortable having them do the work.
  • Ask for references: A good general contractor should be able to provide you with references of former clients that they have done work for in the past. Talk to these people and ask them about the work the contractor completed, and about how pleased they were with the results. Be sure to follow up and actually see the work that was completed. The best way to determine quality work is that it meets your expectations. If you are happy with the work that you see, chances are, the general contractor will do the same quality work for you.

Keep these qualities in mind when you are looking for a general contractor in Austin, TX. This is a good way to ensure you will have quality work done at your home, and it will put your mind at ease during the process. For quality general contracting, contact Watermark & Company today. We specialize in home projects such as renovations, additions, remodels and new builds.

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