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Natelli Homes Blog

rsz natelli3Unless you're one of the few who can pay cash for remodeling or building your custom home, you're going to need a loan, such as a mortgage, to finance your purchase. Lenders look at your income, financial obligations, and payment history to decide whether to loan you money and under what terms. They make their determinations by looking at your credit report, which you also can view.

By law, you're entitled to get a free report each from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion once a year. Some websites offer to give you the document without cost but only if you sign up for paid financial services. To get your report without obligation, visit AnnualCreditReport.com. After answering a few questions to verify your identity, you can download your report immediately.

Check that everything on it is correct especially the names of merchants, amounts you owe, transactions, payment terms, and payment histories. If you find any accounts or charges you don't remember opening or making, then you may be the victim of fraud. Whatever problems you discover, report them immediately to the merchant and reporting credit bureau. They are legally obligated to fix any problems.

Bankruptcies, foreclosures, and late and missed payments raise warning signs for lenders, who may use these issues to deny you the loan or make terms more stringent. You can't do anything about these listing, if they're correct. But you can come up with explanations for them when lenders ask about them.

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natelli homes blogWhen it comes to dealing with home renovations, it can be easy to forget that you may find yourself in a position of short-term upkeep of the old homestead while you pursue the long-term dream of living in the completed renovation. Depending on the state of the home and the extent of the renovation needed, upkeep has the potential to become a job in and of itself. As long as you know what to look out for, however, you could turn enjoy full-time benefits for a part-time job. 

  • Exterior Walls 

Scrutinize all outside walls and trim for traces of marred clapboard, chipped bricks, broken shingles and bent siding. The exterior of the house is the only resistance you have against external forces impacting your dreams of renovation. Patch any cracks or holes in the stucco and repair or replace any parts of the exterior that is showing signs of wear. Eventually, your plan for total home renovations may allow for more extensive refinishing, but during the maintenance phase you just need to take steps from exterior walls making the renovation more work than necessary.

  • Windows

Address any windows that stick or are difficult to open or close. This could potentially be the result of decades worth of paint layers.  If opening or closing windows that stick result in further damage, replace broken sash cords or make modifications to cure the problem of binding. Caulking windows not properly insulated can help keep the interior of the home from experiencing further damage during renovations. 

  • Flooring

Refinish wood flooring and do whatever it takes to put an end to squeaky floorboards, steps or stairs as a necessary step in maintenance during the long process of completing all your home renovations. You can worry about redoing an entire floor later, but in the meantime any broken tile or ceramic flooring should be repaired or replaced. Waste no time in removing musty carpets and rugs because that smell will sink into any new items introduced into the home while renovations are taking place. 

  • Steam Heat

Older homes in need of renovations will often be a younger homebuyer's introduction to the world of houses heated by steam. Learn how to flush radiators while you decide whether or not to replace this steam heating system with a furnace system or space heaters and room unit air conditioners. Leaky radiators or radiators that continually make a banging should eventually be replaced either with a new radiator or an entirely new heating system, but in the meantime maintenance may be limited merely to learning how steam heating systems work.  

  • Roofing

Roofs should be inspected for loose, cracked or damaged shingles. A completely new roof may be part of your long term plans for home renovations, but in the meantime just make sure to replace any individual areas of disrepair. Don't forget to check that the metal flashing hasn't corroded, rusted, come undone or are otherwise suffered damage.

  • Doors

Replace or repair interior doors that stick or loosely swing open. Check around all doors leading outdoors for signs of inefficient weather-stripping. While replacing old doors with updated models may be on your list of things to do as part of your overall plan for home renovations, a short-term fix may be limited merely to the addition of insulating material. 

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homes blogMany kitchen remodeling projects live or die based upon upgrading appliances, but with so many other aspects of renovation to consider, it is worth asking if you really need a new refrigerator, range or oven. Perhaps by not upgrading, you will have more money to splurge on more stylistic design elements like countertops, flooring, cabinets and more. On the other hand, you don't to blow your budget on style when you may really need to upgrade those large appliances. Before finalizing your kitchen remodeling budget, make a solid effort to determine if appliance upgrades are the best way to spend your money.  

    • Refrigerators:

      Side-by-side refrigerators are often one of the centerpieces of a kitchen remodeling plan, but they may not really be as desirable as you think. When measuring for a side-by-side replacement, make sure you will have enough space for people to easily get around in the kitchen when both doors are wide open. Also keep in mind that some side-by-side refrigerators may not be wide enough to handle items like like extra-large pizza boxes, serving platters or even a big Thanksgiving turkey. A family that thrives on refrigerating fast food and leftovers and only cooks meals a few times a week might want to consider upgrading to a refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom, thus allowing easier access to the space you use most. 

    • Ovens:

      Kitchen remodeling gives you the opportunity for a large appliance upgrade that makes cooking more efficient. If you currently have oven built into the wall with the range located elsewhere, then take advantage of kitchen remodeling to upgrade to a freestanding oven/range combination that improves the efficiency of the kitchen work triangle.  Upgrading your oven during kitchen remodeling may be advisable if you currently have an electric oven and prefer working with a gas oven or vice versa.  

    • Stoves:

      This large appliance may be deemed worthy of an upgrade as part of your kitchen remodeling plan if currently cook on an electric range and prefer the precision of cooking with gas. Another good reason for upgrading the stove as part of your kitchen remodeling dream is if you use the stovetop to fry a lot and have grown sick of the mess it makes. In this case, definitely take a look at glasstop ranges that make cleaning up messes much easier. Those with much older stoves would want to seriously contemplate the cost of upgrading to a more contemporary model of this large appliance with features like a built-in warming drawer or warming burner.  

    • Dishwashers:

      Just about everyone who considers kitchen remodeling thinks of upgrading their dishwasher. Inefficient cleaning may just mean you need to troubleshoot the dishwasher you already have or it may be a sign of dirtier dishes to come. On the other hand, a dishwasher running so loudly that it forces you to turn up the volume on the TV in your bedroom on the other side of house is one almost definitely due for replacement. Dishwashers manufactured today are significantly quieter than those made in the 20th century. Older dishwashers are also energy vampires and upgrading this kitchen appliance can potentially start saving you money on your power bills immediately. 

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Home remodeling is a lot of work and requires a high amount of patience. Conflicts arise when contractors and customers misunderstand the remodeling process, so a basic overview of how things happen will benefit all parties involved.

1. Everything Needs To Arrive

Certain products, such as custom countertops, marble materials or bathroom fixtures are created on an order-only basis. The manufacturers will not make the product until the order comes into the shop. While this creates a unique look to the new bathroom, it requires patience from the customer and the contractor. 

2. All Options Need To Be Considered

The customer and contractor need to communicate openly regarding all the options. If the customer is on a tight deadline, the contractor may choose to explore ready-made options. The contractor can help guide the customer through the vast bathroom choices based on the customer's building timeline and personal needs.

3. Shower Storage

The customer and contractor need to plan for shower storage. Many showers only have a small shelf to store product, which does not serve the typical family of four. Eliminate injuries and messes by considering in-the-wall shower storage areas. 

4. Make Sure the Underlayment is Removed

This is a very time consuming task, but the old vinyl or flooring needs to go. Since the flooring may stick stubbornly, it's best to rip up the underlayment along with the flooring. Floor removal needs to be discussed with the contractor before the project begins.

5. Accent Tiles Spice It Up

Among the options for tiling are accent tiles. These are typically mosaic or glass, and are usually expensive, which is why they are used as accents. Line the top of the shower walls with these special pieces for a layered look. Be sure the conversation between contractor and customer includes accent pieces.

6. Curved Shower Rods

Have you ever been to a hotel room with a curved shower rod? There's much more space inside the shower. A curved shower rod is a simple, cheaper addition, but certainly one which will make the shower feel bigger.

7. Fix the Toilet

The contractor and customer should discuss the toilet, especially if the floor is to be retiled. The toilet may be raised too high to work properly after the remodel. If the contractor will need any extenders for the toilet, these need to be discussed in the pre-remodel details.

8. Don't Forget the Lighting

While the bathroom is being updated, it's smart to consider an upgraded lighting. Talk about energy saving options, such as LED lighting fixtures. The most common forgotten part of the bathroom remodel is the lighting, so make sure it's reviewed before the remodel.

 

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3 DIY Bathroom Renovations For Arlington, VA Homeowners On A Budget

Arlington, VA

Do-it-yourselfers, take heart: there really is a way to transform that all-important room in your home – your bathroom - regardless of your renovation budget. You can manage your renovation budget and your stress, while increasing the return on your investment, by following these ideas for bathroom renovations.

  • Use domestic and less costly materials: No longer do we need to rely on expensive, imported marble flooring to make this space feel comfortable. As reported in HGTV, there are several good flooring options for bathrooms, with advantages and cautions for each one. Consider using domestically manufactured tiles for the bathtub or shower area, which are less costly than many imports. Add a large mirror and new, brighter lighting to make the room feel larger. 
  • Refinish: Refinishing what is already there is less costly in terms of materials and labor than complete replacement. Bathtubs, counter tops, and even tiles, can be refinished. Feel free to paint your floor tiles, as one creative DIY-er chose to do as part of her renovation. A vanity can look brand new with just a faucet replacement. Acrylic or porcelain over steel tubs are a fraction of the cost of replacing your tub, and faster. A water-saver type of new toilet is not only inexpensive, it will both reduce your water use costs and help the environment.
  • Choose the right paint color: For small rooms or bathrooms without good-size windows, a light colored paint will make your room feel more spacious. Large, window-lit spaces can be painted in darker, cozier colors. Be sure to use a paint that is formulated for bathroom use and resists mold and mildew.

Even those who prefer the DIY route may need to turn to an experienced hand for support. And relying on an experienced, dependable contractor may increase the return on your investment in the long run.

At Natelli Homes, our 30 years of experience in home building and remodeling makes us a natural go-to resource for remodeling your bathroom. We always listen to your design needs, and consider your renovation budget and the return that your investment will bring you. We can provide guidance, hints, and resources, and ideas for remodeling this or any other room in your home. Whether you plan to do it yourself or wish to consider a contractor, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation, and get started on transforming your bathroom.

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(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Use Custom Closet Designs to Tackle Your Pantry | Rockville, MD

Rockville, MD

We know what custom closets can do for your closet. It turns cluttered junk into an organized, stress-free environment. Any small, large or walk-in space is transformed into an eye-opening masterpiece. Take the same system and organize the rest of your home. One of those places that need a makeover is the pantry.

Searching for food is like searching through a jungle. Moving things around, placing it here, taking it over there: it's a miracle we can find anything in that cluttered area. A closet organizer can turn your pantry into a functional environment. Organization keeps things efficient and productive without wasting time searching for the correct item. Think about your kitchen storage needs; how do you use the pantry? Most pantries are used to store food, but small appliances, pots, pans, china and kitchen accessories are stored in the pantry too. 

There are plenty of must-have items out there. Here are some organizing items as inspiration for your pantry needs:

  • Open shelves
  • Pull-out organizers
  • Cabinet drawers
  • Storage containers
  • Storage baskets
  • Storage racks
  • Shelf dividers
  • Canisters

 

Here are some tips on how to handle the space in your pantry:

  • Use every inch of the pantry space to store as much food, condiments, pots, pans and kitchen accessories as possible. You are allowed to use the door as storage or purchase as cart if you run out of room. You’ll be amazed at the space increase. Planning and purchasing a good organizer results in holding more than twice the amount of items as the previous shelving. 
  • Make sure the shelves are adjustable too. As you add things to the pantry you need to make sure you have the space. Adjustable shelves will create space when there is none. Add or remove shelves with the changing times.
  • Make sure shelves have enough space in the middle to see what's inside. This prevents buying duplicate items. These shelves are great for place mats, plastic utensils, silverware, canned items, pickled items and spices. 
  • Contact us for more information on using closet organizers for your pantry. We can answer any questions you have about storage and assist in choosing the best organizer for any pantry space.

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(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

First Impressions: Renovating Your Front Entrance | McLean, VA

McLean, VA

The front entrance of your home makes an important first impression, and you want guests to feel welcomed as they walk towards the front door and into your home. By focusing on a few key areas, you can add beauty and warmth to your front entrance and elevate the value of your home.

1) Lighting. Both architectural and landscape lighting are important! A dark house with no walkway lighting makes a gloomy (and maybe dangerous) approach to your home. Besides improving safety, adding outdoor lighting can highlight your home's architectural features or gardens.

2) Front door. Your front door serves as the focal point of the entry way, and you can make a bold statement with it. Choose a bright color or highlight your home's theme -- modern and minimalist, Victorian, Italian villa, etc.

3) Roof. Low-ceilings are less welcoming than a spacious entry way with high ceilings. Add height and openness, framing the doorway with arches or a peaked portico.

4) Stairs. If there are steps leading to your front entrance, consider how to make them beautiful and functional. Keep a gentle grade and include hand rails to match the decor of your home. Choose a material to compliment the other materials in your home -- brick and stone are two popular choices.

5) Porch. No Southern home would be complete without a large, welcoming front porch! The entryway is the perfect place to hang a porch swing and wait for family and friends with a glass of your favorite beverage.

To design or renovate your home's front entrance, contact us today. We have vast-experience with low-maintenance products that will beautify and simplify the look of your home.

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No More Stress: Bathroom Renovations Simplified | Silver Spring, MD

Silver Spring, MD

Any home renovation can be a stressful event, even something that seems so simple -- like a bathroom renovation. But you can take the stress out of your project with some advance planning, following these steps:

Get Inspired

Look at magazines, talk to your friends, and start a collection of photos, articles, and ideas for your bathroom. This part of the process will help you determine the big picture plan for your renovation, as well as begin to identify some of the smaller details of the project, too.

Choose a Layout

Think through any changes to layout -- for example, do you want to move the toilet? -- and what that will mean for the plumbing and other design elements. Small bathrooms can be expanded, and large bathrooms can be rearranged as you desire. Just remember to ...

Nail Down a Budget

Changing the layout of your bathroom will cost more than to it will to make cosmetic upgrades. Be sure to think through the cost of materials, contractors, and come up with a reasonable budget for your project.

Bring In The Contractor

At this stage in the process, involve your contractor to begin planning the dates for your renovation. Talk over your ideas for the bathroom, ask for estimates, and get the contract signed. It is important to hire a trustworthy contractor, so do your research before you sign any paperwork. Natelli Homes has a long history of excellent service in the DC - NOVA area and would love to help you with your bathroom renovation!

Do Some Shopping

Some window shopping, at least, which is one of the fun parts of the project! Light fixtures, tile, cabinets, and other items will need to be selected and ordered before any physical work begins. You can also take this time to select accessories like towels, shower curtains, and paint colors. Coordinate this with the contractor and then get ready to watch the bathroom makeover!

With some thorough planning, a bathroom renovation can be a fun adventure. To begin the process, contact us today! 

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Popular Home Renovations For Retirement | Chevy Chase, MDWe all look forward to retirement. After years of waking up early and working hard every day, we finally get to relax and enjoy the fruits of our hard labor. It's no wonder so many retired people choose to upgrade their home and enjoy it more than ever. Below we'll discover some of the most popular home renovations for retired living.

An Enclosed Porch

It's hard to picture a better cup of coffee than one enjoyed behind the luxury of beautiful, triple pane window as leaves slowly dance toward the ground or snow blankets the earth. 

Owning a cozy enclosed porch area safe from the weather allows retirement to be spent with a feeling of being out and away, while also having the pleasure of being safe and inside. From reading a book or sharing a meal there's a near endless amount of possibilities to enjoy an enclosed porch.

A Renovated Kitchen

This area of the home is where most families spend the majority of their time. There's hardly any reason to not make it as warm and inviting as you've always dreamed. If you're stuck with a small, closed in kitchen you can drastically change the way your home feels by opening it up and altering the layout of a house for a lot less than you'd imagine. 

Some of the most popular kitchen design ideas include islands in the middle or eat in areas that create a space for family and friends to sit, talk and laugh as you enjoy preparing meals together. It's hard to imagine a relaxing lifestyle without a beautiful kitchen, isn't it? 

Bathroom Renovations

There's nothing like a nice bathroom area to comfort the soul and make everything in life seem like it's working out the way we've always dreamed. Bathrooms are one of the most important details when searching for a home for most buyers, and one of the top areas of the home to renovate all across the country. 

As we grow older, priorities about how things function often take over the driver's seats and we're more than familiar with installing walk-in tubs, hand rails and other amenities to make life easier for retired living while making it one of the most breath taking areas of your home.

New Floors

After years of being walked over and having dirt and debris slowly ground in over the years, flooring will gradually make a turn for the worse and lose the luster it once had. A simple way to spruce up your home and make it feel like a fresh new place is to replace or restore your flooring.

Hardwood, tile and laminate flooring are some of the most popular options of flooring to spruce up any room in your home. Modern laminate designs have transformed the way we see flooring. Having the hardwood feel for a fraction of the cost is now more of a reality than ever before. You've likely seen friends and family who have laminate flooring and you never notice it, unless you ask.

Retiring is meant to be the time of your life when you sit back in your chair and enjoy the life you've worked hard for your entire life. If you're ready to see how your home could become a better space for you, contact us now and see how we can make your home a better space.

What's Trending in Kitchen Remodling | Potomac, MD

If you’re in the planning process of remodeling your kitchen you've probably got a million different ideas and as many questions! There are several things to consider and keep in mind before attacking your old kitchen with the wrecking ball, so to say.

First, if you plan on staying in your home a long time, a kitchen customized to your cooking needs and is a pleasure to work in is probably your first and foremost thought. Specific choices of cabinetry, appliances, flooring, countertops, tiles and colors that reflect the personality of you and your family lend a familial feeling of comfort and warmth. But what if you plan to sell and move in the next 5 years? Will your potential buyers love those blue cabinets and white tile floors as much as you do?

While we all love customized kitchens, over-customizing can be a detriment when either selling a home, or updating it in the future. According to an article in The Washington Post, Houzz, an online community all about architecture, interior design and more, recently polled users on their kitchen remodeling plans. After sifting through some 7,812 responses, the results showed that homeowners were trending more towards the following in their designs:

Flooring

Hardwood floors are the most popular surface among kitchen renovators, with 35 percent of poll respondents choosing wood. Pairing darker wood floors with white cabinets and marbled countertops is a classic look.

Islands

These workspaces also doubled with bar extension to serve for eat-in dining or a place for visitors to sit and visit the cook.

Appliance Finishes

65 percent of respondents preferred stainless steel appliances. Matching sinks, faucets, and light fixtures with stainless added a sleek, custom look.

Backsplashes

Tile was the choice of half of the respondents. Coordinating size of tiles and their color with the countertops and wood floor creates a pleasing marriage of all surfaces.

Dream Appliance

35 percent of respondents prefer a gas range. Ranges come in different sizes depending on grade. Of course commercial grade ranges are larger and need more space, and range hoods are also a must have. If you prefer a gas range, first make certain you have gas service available to your home.

Color Schemes

Three-quarters of kitchen respondents preferred the softness of neutral color schemes. White cabinets and light wood tones (or darker toned flooring) work well with stainless appliances. You can add splashes of color on walls with paint.

While planning a kitchen remodel is exciting, it can also be a bit daunting trying to determine what will work best in your space. Contacting a professional who is knowledgeable of the remodeling process and educated in products and design can help you transform your current space into a beautiful, state of the art kitchen you, or anyone else, will be proud of for years to come.

If you would like more information on kitchen remodeling, please contact us.