How is NY Real Estate Looking for 2018?

Real estate sales in Manhattan plunged 25% in the first quarter over the past year, as the new federal tax law, stock market swings, and an abundance of luxury condos scared buyers. Sales dropped the lowest it’s been in six years, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel.

The average sales price also dropped 8% compared to the same quarter last year. The drop was probably caused by the uncertainty over the new federal tax law, which prevents residents in high-tax states like New York from deducting their state and local taxes. Closings at new condo towers have also slowed down, making the decline even steeper. The high end of the market is getting hit harder, as prices for luxury apartments fell 15% and sales were down 24% in the quarter from last year.

It is speculated that the main problem within this market is asking prices, as sellers still have to adjust and lower their prices in order to keep up with the tax law changes and slowdown since 2014.

 

The Hottest Kitchen Trends of 2018

Kitchens have changed a lot over decades and planning for a kitchen remodel is very important. It is important for your kitchen to be modern, as kitchens are now the focal point of a home, the place that brings everyone together at the start or end of the day. In 2018, clean and simple styles have been favored amongst homeowners, with natural light becoming an essential aspect. Here are the top kitchen renovation trends of 2018:

    1. Smart kitchens: technology is now being integrated into every function and appliance found in the kitchen, from the fridge to the lighting.
    2. Cabinet Colors: White is a classic favorite for kitchen cabinets, as it provides a clean look for a space that can get cluttered at times. Grey is the second choice, as it is versatile, allowing it to be paired with natural elements or glamour accents. Dark kitchen cabinets are slowly making their rise this year, however, helping a kitchen look elegant and luxurious.
    3. Kitchen countertops: Quartz is still a favorite for high-end kitchen countertops, as it can last forever and is very easy to maintain. There is now a wider range of colors of quartz as well as a realistic assortment of stone patterns.
    4. Appliances: One of the hottest trends of 2018 is gray-toned appliances in a dark brushed metal finish.
    5. Flooring: Hardwood flooring is still the number one flooring of choice, but ceramic tile is a close second, as technology is now allowing ceramic tiles to look like hardwood flooring, as well as many other materials.
    6. Islands: Large kitchen islands are now becoming a staple to every kitchen, with storage solution cabinets with under-counter appliances as well as seating.

Do I Need an Interior Designer?

If you’re planning to remodel a larger area, it might be a good idea to hire an interior designer. It might seem like a waste of money at first, but it is important to keep in mind that an interior designer will assume many of the roles traditionally assigned to subcontractors. Interior designers can also improve your home in ways that a subcontractor would not catch.

Researching and shopping for fixtures can be very time consuming, and having someone come to you that knows how to select these products can save a lot of time. Hiring an interior designer can design your workspace in a shorter amount of time, and it can also save on extra costs. Good interior designers know how to maximize the qualities of a space, emphasizing positive attributes and downplaying less desirable qualities.

Hiring an interior designer is a good idea no matter what, even if you have a full plan for your room or you have no idea. Hiring an interior designer will allow you to gain the advantage of their expertise and technical knowledge in terms of design, which will help you avoid potential issues and costly design mistakes in the future.

 

Construction Project Ideas

  1. Residential - These types of construction projects includes houses, townhouses, cottages, apartments, condominiums, single unit dwellings and subdivisions. The designs for the housing are usually done by architects and engineers; the construction is completed by builders who hire subcontractors for structural, electrical, mechanical and other specific work. This type of project must adhere to the local building authority regulations and codes of practice. Because of its ease of entry into the real estate market, many new builders are attracted to residential projects. Although it is a highly competitive market with potentially high risks, there are also high rewards.
  2. Building - This type of construction project is possibly the most popular; it is the process of adding structure to a property, including room additions and small renovations. For current homeowners, this is the most common project because they often extend their homes with additional rooms, walk-in closets, garages, and kitchen renovations. 
  3. Institutional & Commercial - This category includes schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, sports facilities, stadiums, shopping centers, retail chain stores, light manufacturing plants, warehouses, skyscrapers for offices and hotels, and more. For these projects, specialty architects and engineers are hired for a particular building design. There a few competitors for this category because of its high costs and greater sophistication as compared to residential buildings.
  4. Highway Construction - This involves the alteration, construction, repair of highways, streets, roads, paths, parking areas, and more.
  5. Heavy Construction - These projects are those that are not classified as building or highway projects, such as flood control projects, water treatment plants and facilities, water and sewer line projects, and more.

Construction Tips for Your Workers’ Safety

1. Getting in and out of equipment:

– Check your boots and gloves for slippery substances and wipe them off to avoids slips and falls
– Get a foot or hand hold before hoisting yourself up
– Use a step ladder if necessary to make sure you can climb on the equipment safely
– If you need help, be sure to ask
– Avoid rushing to hop up or down on equipment

2. Personal Protective Equipment:

– It is important to wear the right clothes for the job, along with protective gear. On the job, your gear and other tools should be stored in a safe, dry place. First aid kits and fire extinguishers should be located near the work area and readily available.

– When lifting heavy objects, you should use a back brace to prevent damage to your body. You should also be sure to wear gloves and goggles on the work site if you’re using dangerous tools. If you’re working on an elevated area and there’s a risk of slipping and falling, you should wear a safety harness.

– Nonskid, rubber footwear is also important if you are working in an area with slippery surfaces, or if you’re lifting heavy objects.

– It is crucial to your health that you wear a mask at work if your workplace has bad ventilation and if you work with dangerous toxins, constant dust or other debris.

3. Staying safe loading/unloading equipment:

– No matter where you’re working, there is always the risk of equipment rolling over when you are loading or unloading it. This is why it is important to make sure the ramps you are using are straight and cleared. You should also be sure to allow plenty of room between you and the equipment in case of an emergency.

– It is always smart to use another co-worker as a spotter while guiding your equipment to make sure the machine is clear of the ramp before turning it. However, you should also make sure the trailer deck and you have proper clearance before loading it, in addition to using correct tie-down procedures.

 

‘Women Building Futures’ Program Trains Women to Work in Construction

A new program in Tampa, Florida, “Women Building Futures,” aims to train women to work in construction. Women fill every job imaginable capably and confidently, but construction is one job where you still might not expect to see many women. In fact, women make up only 9 percent of the entire construction workforce in America, according to OSHA; that’s less than one in every 10 construction workers.

This program helps women learn the skills and knowledge they need to work in the construction industry. “There’s a big demand for tradesmen and workers in the construction field so this class will give the ladies the opportunity to be able to go out and compete in that arena,” program manager Kimberly Kitchen told Fox 13.

Women Building Futures (WBF) became registered as a non-profit society in 1998 as a small group of women (social workers mostly) who set out to fulfill their shared dream of helping women achieve economic prosperity through trades training and mentorship. Working out of an office space ‘borrowed’ from the City of Edmonton, WBF focused on securing small grants to run a series of three-week classes on carpentry.

As of November 2006, the program is now 17-weeks long and includes introduction to six trades - carpentry, plumbing, electrical, steamfitting/pipefitting, welding and sheet metal. The graduate success rate continued to climb and all staff stayed on board during this period; a true display of the tenacity that makes WBF a success.

To learn more about this program, visit https://womenbuildingfutures.com.

Revamping Your Closet

Spring is approaching quickly, and you may be in the need for a closet revamp.

First, start with what's hanging. Place clothes on their hangers in two piles—one for short items, like shirts, and the other for long items, like coats and pants hung full length by their cuffs or waistband. Measure the height of each pile to get the desired lengths for short- and long-item rods. Next, arrange your clothes that could be folded in 10-inch-high stack; each stack needs 14 inches of shelf length. The ideal reach-in closet is 6 to 8 feet wide and 24 to 30 inches deep. Standard double doors are best, assuming there's room to swing them open.

Now, to start planning the interior, beginning with the left wall; measure everything to a T. Sketch a to-scale layout on graph paper, with each wall's width and height as well as details. Make note of sloped ceilings, knee walls, and other oddities. Start with storage for your shoes; your best bet is open shelves without dividers. To squeeze in an extra pair, alternate toes-facing-out and toes-facing-in. Sketch in rods for shorter items, making them as wide as your wardrobe warrants, and a higher rod for longer items. Draw shelves 4 inches above the rods plus a high shelf for less-used items, and mark their depths.

For walls and plaster that's in poor shape, line the closet with ¾-inch hardwood plywood and screw it to the studs. Now you are able to attach rods and shelves wherever you want.

No room for swing-open doors? Avoid sliders and invest in sturdy, solid-core or solid-wood bifolds and heavy-duty fittings. Lightweight doors with bad fittings wobble and constantly fall off their tracks. Decide where you want your off-season items, ideally in the attic or a dry corner of the basement. If you have spare room on the same floor, consider a clothes rack that can be wheeled to the closet when it's time for a swap-out. If this isn't an option, store your clothing pieces in bins and totes; be sure to label them so that you have easy access to something you need, year-round.

 

Spring Home Renovation Ideas

With spring just around the corner, you're probably dying to spruce up your home with a little renovating or DIY. Here are a few ideas for some springtime improvement - without breaking the bank!

  1. Landscaping - If you're imagining a green lawn with some fresh blossoms, the prices for plants could add up quickly. With $5-$15 per plant, plus maybe some bark mulch and shrubs, it could be a pretty penny spent. Alternatively, don’t buy all established plants that will add up in cost. Instead, try planting seeds for a fraction of the price, and soon you will have that dream garden. Just be sure to keep in mind the importance of lawn maintenance, such as mowing, weeding and hedge trimming!
  2. Repaving the Driveway - Between salt and snow in the winter, your driveway must be aching for a refresher. As concrete is very expensive and asphalt is a close second, prepare to pay for this project, because this is not a DIY. Sometimes all a driveway needs is a new sealcoat, which you can do on your own. With a few hundred dollars of sealcoat, a driveway squeegee, and a little prep time, you could have a brand new driveway - estimating $250 to $500 on a typical two-car driveway.

    7 years old girl painting the wall at home, Instagram style toning
  3. Repainting the Walls - Now that winter grays are past us and there is such wonderful color all around, you must be dying to add a pop of color to your rooms. But first, think about if you really need to repaint the walls, and if you're willing to take the time out for this project. Instead, repaint what you really need to, such as a wall that has damage or a color that really takes away from the room’s potential. Light grays, earth tones, yellows or blues are all safe and appealing colors that won’t scare off a new homeowner, if you are planning to sell in the future. Focus first on areas where you entertain or spend the most time, because little costs can add up, on top of the gallons of paint, primer, rollers, paint brushes, tray liners and caulking to fill cracks and nail holes.

With these tips - and whatever else you can think of - you will soon be on your way to a happier feeling home (while saving some money)! Happy Spring!

How Can I Make My House Childproof?

Being a new parent in your home may seem frightening - and possibly seem unsafe for your newborn or toddler. Here are some childproofing tips by age!

Newborn: At this stage, your baby starts to reflexively bring their hands to their mouth, so begin thinking about choking hazards from an early age.

  1. Make sure your baby's crib adheres to current safety standards as specified by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
  2. Place baby monitors and their electrical cords at least three feet away from their crib
  3. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  4. Anchor TVs and furniture, such as dressers and bookcases
  5. Install a fence around any pool or hot tub
  6. Keep your baby's crib free of pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals and blankets

Crawling: Your crawling baby will grab onto any and everything they can get their hands on. Being as curious as they are, make sure they can only access areas free of danger.

  1. Cover sharp edges on furniture and corners
  2. Remove nightlights in any lower outlets your baby can reach
  3. Cover electrical outlets lower than counter height and select products that are not choking hazards
  4. Keep household cleaners and medicines up high
  5. Ensure stoves are anchored
  6. Pack up and put away valuables

Toddler: Now that your not-so-little baby is walking, running and climbing, it is best to have safety gates installed early so they know which rooms are off-limits. Also remember to give clear reminders of safety, as they cannot remember all the rules at this age.

  1. Be careful with chair and step stools
  2. Install knob covers
  3. Secure doors to off-limit areas, such as cellars and garages
  4. Keep household medications in child resistant containers and in a high cabinet
  5. Create a space out of reach of children for small electronic devices to charge and rest
  6. Place hot foods and liquids on the center of tables and counter tops, not edges, table cloths or placemats

The Importance of a Kitchen

A kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a household. Whether it is a with a cup of coffee or a nice breakfast, the kitchen is most likely where your day begins. The kitchen is where meals are prepared to keep yourself and your family fed and healthy. Moreover, it is a place where family and guest congregate together to cook, eat, and socialize. A kitchen is the center of your home. It is a place that brings your loved ones together— it ties a home together.

Furthermore, spending more time in your kitchen has its benefits. It is beneficial to your health as well as to the health of your family. For example, cooking at home more frequently can increase your longevity.

Your kids can also benefit from spending more time in the kitchen. As a result, it will help them develop lovely memories of the family in the kitchen. Not only that, but your kids will also learn how to connect with others by picking up on social skills and manners seen in the kitchen. Studies show that eating at home with your children provide them with a healthier and happier life. This will lead them to do better in school and stay out of trouble.

For these reasons, having a marvelous kitchen means investing in your family’s happiness. But most importantly it means investing in your family’s health. Having a functional and appealing kitchen will bring your family and friends together. Your kitchen will emanate warmth and happiness.

Golden Construction specializes in designing kitchens in the NYC area. The goal is to give you the kind of kitchen you desire.