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Local News and Information Archives for 2023-04

Top 5 Tips for Hiring a Remodeler

Are you among the growing number of homeowners who would prefer to remodel than try to purchase a new property? As you request estimates, you’ll soon learn that even simple remodels can cost a significant amount of money. With that type of investment on the line, it’s important to find a contractor you can trust.

As the home building and remodeling industry celebrates National Home Remodeling Month in May, here are the top five tips to ensure you make the right decisions when you find and hire a remodeler.

Utilize a Directory. A simple Google search will provide you with endless pages of remodelers. To help narrow down your search to find a qualified remodeler, utilize a directory from a professional organization like the one available here on our website. A professional remodeler will uphold the industry's highest professional and ethical standards. These sources can also help you find a remodeler who specializes in a specific type of remodeling if you need it, such as a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) to help modify your home to suit you better as you age.

Narrow Down Your List. Once you have generated a list of professional remodelers, closely examine their services. The best place to start is by visiting the company website or social media accounts to see photos of their work. Home renovation websites like HomeAdvisor or Houzz also have pictures and reviews of remodeling companies. When reading online reviews, try to focus on the descriptions of experiences and qualities that are most important to you as a customer. Another avenue is to ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done on comparable homes under similar schedules.

Conduct Background Research. Once you have a list of potential home remodelers for your project, do some background research to verify that they are appropriately licensed and have a good business track record. Look them up with your local or state office of consumer protection.

Make a List of Interview Questions. When you begin meeting with remodelers, you want to find out information such as:


  • How long have they been in business in your community? Can they provide references from customers and suppliers they work with?
  • Do they carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates.
  • What is their working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area, and what issues could arise?
  • Do they arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and liable for the work). Do they comply with all local, state, and federal laws?
  • Do they provide a written estimate before beginning the work? Do they offer a contract detailing the work that will and will not be performed and provide a fair payment schedule?
  • Verifying smart business practices and remodeling expertise will ensure your home remodel is completed successfully.

Trust Your Instincts. Make sure you are compatible with the contractor you select. Beginning your project with mutual expectations and good communication will go a long way toward a smooth remodel. You’ll spend a significant amount of time with your remodeler, so having a good rapport and trust in them is essential.

For more detailed checklists for finding, evaluating, and working with a remodeler and other information about remodeling your home, check out our other helpful articles on the blog or visit 

How to Recycle Unwanted Household Items

For many of us, springtime comes with renewed energy to declutter and tackle home improvement projects. As the dust settles and renovations are complete, you may find you are left with multiple items that are no longer useful to you. Before tossing everything in the garbage, check out this list to find ways to recycle unwanted items and dispose of hazardous materials properly. Not only will donating and recycling help declutter your home, but it can also help reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve natural resources and create jobs in recycling and manufacturing industries in our local community.

Furniture & Household Items: Gently used furniture and general household items including lighting fixtures, cabinets, appliances, lawn equipment and more are always welcome at the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga ReStore. Jens Christensen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga shares, “In the past year alone, we’ve kept over 1.2 million pounds of reusable materials out of local landfills. Not only will your items find an appreciative new home at the ReStore but proceeds also go to building and repairing homes in the Chattanooga community.”

Broken or Worn Appliances: Many older or broken household appliances such as stoves, washing machines, refrigerators or dishwashers are eligible for recycling. Appliances contain metal that can be reclaimed. If you’re purchasing a new appliance, check with the company installing regarding their recycling options. Local scrap metal recyclers may be interested in your old appliances as well.

Glass: While bottles, jars, and non-food glass containers such as perfume or face creams are recyclable, these items should be taken to local recycling centers and not placed in your curbside recycling bin. You can find a list of local recycling centers at Chattanooga.gov and hamiltontn.gov.  It is important to clean and dry items before recycling them as leftover particles or liquids can contaminate other recyclables. Lids and corks should be removed prior to recycling. Larger glass items such as vases, glass drinking cups, window glass and glass cookware cannot be recycled.

Paper: Beyond documents, many types of paper can be recycled. Mixed paper is a common household item and can include discarded mail, magazines, and cardboard. Your home office may contain recyclable content such as letterhead, files, phone books, copier paper or envelopes. Do not recycle paper that is wet, greasy, or soiled.

Plastic: Jugs, jars and bottles that are plastic can be recycled. Like glass, plastic items must be clean and dry before they can be recycled. Keep in mind that plastic cannot only be found in the kitchen. Your bathroom may have items that can be recycled as well such as shampoo, liquid soap, or mouthwash. Empty plastic detergent or cleaning bottles in your laundry room or utility closet are also ideal for recycling.

Hazardous Materials: Toxic materials should be carefully disposed of to prevent harm to people or the environment. Older materials found in your home, garage or shed can be considered dangerous, such as paint strippers with the newly banned toxic chemical methylene chloride. This type of toxic substance should be removed from your home with the appropriate personal protective clothing such as gloves. Empty containers may have hazardous residual chemicals. All hazardous waste for both Chattanooga and Hamilton County can be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 4063 North Hawthorne Street.

For more helpful information on anything related to home improvement, check out the publications section here at hbagc.net. 

Home Design Trends to Watch in 2023

The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) – a prestigious awards program recognizing excellence in designs that will influence the entire residential building industry. 
Award recipients are distinguished as the nation’s most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers.
Below are some of the newest trends in home design that buyers throughout the Chattanooga area will see in the coming months and years, based on submissions from this year’s BALA winners. Some of these elements are sure to inspire your next design project.

Outdoor Living. From single-family to multifamily and community amenities, outdoor living continues to be a huge focus in home design. Even in colder climates, designers are incorporating great indoor/outdoor spaces that could be utilized differently depending on the time of year.

Wine in Design. These dazzling features provide not only a great focal point for entertainment spaces, but also highlight the celebratory nature of wine by making it a design element.

Luxurious Bathrooms. Large showers and standalone soaking tubs are making a splash in today’s bathrooms, especially where larger square footage allows. Great bathroom designs also focus on the ability to bring in lots of natural light while still maintaining privacy, whether through frosted panes or outdoor privacy walls.

Colorful Kitchens. From eye-catching backsplashes to ceiling details, kitchens today are expanding beyond the basic white and wood palettes in years prior through thoughtful touches and clean-line designs. Even hood designs are getting more creative as designers work to blend them more seamlessly with the overall space.
Kitchen islands also remain prominent, including creative insets and add-ons, such as beverage coolers for greater functionality. Larger kitchens may feature not one, but two of these entertainment workhorses.

Fantastic Foyers. Rich materials, strong contrasts and sweeping staircases made great first impressions in several standout entryways.

Exteriors with Style. Details add a level of richness to create stunning homes across the country. From traditional to contemporary to modern farmhouse, rich regional materials can be balanced with contrasting colors to create strong curb appeal.

To find an industry professional who is ready to bring these exciting new trends to your new home or remodeling project, visit our member directory or go to nahb.org.

Multigenerational Households Grow in Popularity

The popularity of multigenerational homes continues to grow, with more families choosing to live together under one roof. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans living in a family household of three or more generations is about four times larger today than in the 1970s.

The Pew data also reveals that 59.7 million U.S. residents live with multiple generations under one roof. Several factors contribute to this trend. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic increased multigenerational living arrangements as families came together for health-related or financial reasons. Other recent factors include rising housing costs and adult children staying home longer.

Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help care for their grandchildren, and their adult children can care for them as they age. This type of arrangement can also reduce financial burdens, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and eliminating expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional caregiving environments.

Home builders and remodelers are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas and combined living space.

Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes, ensuite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. In addition, they frequently include "universal design" features, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

Building professionals who have earned the NAHB Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received in-depth training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely and independently, regardless of their age or ability level. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and healthcare professionals.

To learn more about multigenerational home plans or to find a CAPS professional in our area contact The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga or visit nahb.org/capsdirectory.

What Do Home Buyers Want in Their Next Home?

New Homes Month in April is an excellent time to think about what you want in your next new home. Most Americans have a vision of their dream home or envy amazing renovation makeovers seen on television shows or social media. But how does your dream home compare to what home buyers across the country are looking for in their new home?

There was a brief uptick in new home sizes in 2021. However, the average size of a new home dropped slightly from 2,525 square feet to 2,480 square feet in 2022. The findings are based on an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) of U.S. Census Bureau data that tracks new single-family home characteristics.

It’s not the size of the home that matters, it’s what you can do with the space. The data revealed that the percentage of new homes with four or more bedrooms rose to nearly half (48%). Builders have found that buyers are seeking more lifestyle flexibility in their new homes and more bedrooms are part of that solution. For example, home offices, recently appeared on the list of buyers’ most-wanted features for the first time, according to an NAHB survey of home buyer preferences.

Flexible spaces inside the home are key, but exterior features also pique the interest of new home buyers. In a recent survey of builders conducted by NAHB, builders saw a large jump in demand for exterior amenities, such as patios, decks and porches in 2022. In response, many new homes include walking paths and outdoor living spaces connected to the home, contributing to buyers' overall sense of comfort and enjoyment of their space. Cheryl Moore with Core Homes shares, “Over the last three years, many of our home buyers discovered the convenience and freedom of working from home. However, living 24/7 within the same four walls quickly highlighted the need for dedicated rooms for work and play. Plus the desire to stay connected to fresh air and sunlight was tantamount. Home offices and outdoor living spaces went to the top of the list of our buyers’ must-haves.”

The latest new home design trends that support modern lifestyles are just one of the many reasons to buy a newly constructed home. In addition, new home buyers can choose the finishes, fixtures, flooring, paint colors and more that suit their preferences and are often more durable, without the hassle or cost of changing the previous owner’s tastes. “New construction homes offer up-to-date layouts and efficiencies over older, used homes,” says Moore. “If our home buyers decide to build from the ground up - they work in tandem with a nationally recognized designer in choosing every finish and fixture to make their home truly unique and a perfect fit for them.”
To learn about new homes in the Tennessee Valley and to connect with builders in our area, contact us here at the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga or visit our member directory.