Month: December 2019

Avoid These 5 Common Renovation Mistakes

Whether you are a first-time buyer, an investor, or a long time homeowner, bad home renovations can really put a kink in your plans. Giving your home a facelift can be exciting and daunting at the same time. Maybe you are renovating to create your “forever” home or maybe you have the intent to sell again. Either way, a renovation gone wrong will undoubtedly derail your plans and could land you in some hot water.

To keep you from pulling your hair out, we at A-List Builders have put together some common renovation mistakes to avoid, that will increase your home’s overall resale value.

No License? No Bonding? No Insurance? No Way!

Let’s face it – you get what you pay for. Sometimes settling on the lowest bid is not the best choice and may lead to a bad home renovation by under qualified contractors. Chances are, the quoted price will be easier on your wallet initially, but may come with a hefty price tag later when you’re trying to sell and have to pay (again) for shoddy workmanship. There is no substitute for good professional help with design and construction to prevent renovation mistakes. You will find that hiring a properly licensed, bonded, and insured company for your renovations will be worth every dollar.

Woman upset with bad home renovation

Make Your Renovation Profitable

A renovation may be planned or it may be forced, due to a busted plumbing pipe or structural issue. Either way, keeping the future sale of your house in mind, when renovating, is always a good idea. When done properly, there are certain renovations that will have a stronger return on investment, which is always a bonus. Deciding on renovations that don’t support the local market is never recommended and can lead to renovation mistakes that will be hard to fix. Updating a kitchen or bathroom is never a bad idea and can usually be profitable in the end. Room additions are a fantastic way to increase your square footage, adding that extra space everyone needs.

Hire An Unbiased Eye

Lavish upgrades that stand out like a sore thumb with the surrounding environment will not work to your favor and is a mistake that should be avoided. On most residential blocks, more bling does not equal more cha-ching, and may be one of the many renovation mistakes to avoid. Quirky home customizations are not always appreciated by the masses and place high on the list of bad home renovations.

Just because your house is worth considerably more than the surrounding majority, does not mean you will get more than the average market value when you go to sell. It is always a great idea to hire an unbiased, professional eye for an in-home consultation to decide on a strategy.

Saving Energy Is Always Trending

Who doesn’t love to save money? Installing energy efficient upgrades is the way of the future. You cannot go wrong with investing in solar panels, or a drought tolerant landscape for the yard. Renovation mistakes include inefficiency. Don’t forget that replacing original windows with eco-friendly windows is a great way to save more on utility bills. Saving energy is never a bad home renovation decision and will be lucrative in the end.

Don’t Forget About The Outdoors

In Los Angeles, it’s crucial to consider how indoor-outdoor living spaces enhance the appeal and functionality of your property. By improving your yard and outdoor ambience, you can boost your home’s value and better enjoy your entire square footage. An enclosed or exterior patio is a great way to add extra recreational space to your house. It will never be a renovation mistake to create a place for enjoying cookouts and parties with family and friends. Having an outdoor deck installed is a great way to get a little fancy with your upgrade design. Consider a hot tub or fire pit to enjoy Southern California’s night-time weather year-round, as well.

Renovated pool backyard villa

Be Smart About Who You Hire

Besides costing you an obscene amount of money, a bad home renovation can cause great distress in your life. Make sure you are avoiding common renovation mistakes and that you are only increasing your home’s value, not diminishing. Ready to take your renovation ideas to the next level? Contact A-List Builders today for your no cost, no obligation, in-home consultation.

Complete Home Remodeling Guide for Estate Property Renovations

A complete home renovation is a dream for many homeowners. Most people wouldn’t hesitate to add more luxury and personality to their property. But larger estate and family property owners have to decide if property renovation is the right move when their home has so much history and character. And upon making that decision, how do you get started, and when is it a good idea to hire a property renovation specialist? While there will be some challenges, one thing is clear — a complete home renovation takes preparation, time, and being prepared for a surprise or two doesn’t hurt!

Elegant kitchen with light tones remodeled in a complete home renovation

Preparation is Key

Your estate property’s complete home renovation is going to be a large and demanding project, and you certainly won’t want to pick an arbitrary place in the house to start and spontaneously go from there, especially in a home rich with history. Preparation is key. Every nook and cranny in every room must be accounted for from the beginning.

Hiring experts makes the process easy from start to finish. Your team will outline their plans before the work begins, and provide a tentative schedule so you know what to expect. Because challenges are inevitable, setting a course in the beginning makes a huge difference in the long run.


Your complete home renovation is an investment, and therefore requires a budget. Remember that when you have a team of property renovation specialists by your side, you are far more likely to make the most of your money. They will guide you through every step of the process and offer expert insight into every big decision, and there will be many as you proceed. When you have professionals in your corner, their experience can be highly valuable.

Also remember to give your budget some leeway. Plans are inevitably going to change throughout the complete home renovation process and while a budget can give you a good ballpark figure, be prepared for the initial numbers to change at least once, and quite possibly more often, so be prepared to expand the budget as needed. In fact, take the original number you come up with and add 20%. This will prepare you for any additional costs.

Partial vs. Complete Renovation

You have two options when it comes to property renovation for your estate or family home: partial or complete. Remember that in an older home like an estate, the difference between a newly-renovated space and an original space will be noticeable. The solution to this dilemma would be to consider a complete home renovation, rather than a partial one. Certain rooms like bathrooms renovate tastefully and can accurately depict original architecture in an estate or family property. It’s amazing what can be done with these beautiful properties! Working with property renovation specialist allows you find balance between the original details of your estate property, while updating to suit modern living. We at A-List Builders have experience tailoring complete home renovations to vintage styles and tastes.

Luxurious bathroom remodeled with natural stone shower and cherry wood vanity


Indoor remodels improve the functionality and livability of your home such as a renovated kitchen, bathroom, or flooring, Consider adding rooms to your estate property, which is a popular option for many property owners. A complete home renovation could include revamping your outdoor areas as well. Many estate property owners find that an overhaul on gutters, landscaping, and exterior walls will ultimately serve their property renovation projects well.

Outside area of a luxury Mediterranean-style estate in Los Angeles with pool

Beautiful view from an estate home overlooking a swimming pool.

Why Use Property Renovation Specialists

When it comes to estates and family properties, you’re working with a delicate home that needs a good amount of TLC.

When it comes to maintaining the integrity of your estate property, your renovation specialists will put forth all the care the home requires. Because of the nature of a complete home renovation and how big of a job it is, we highly recommend this practice. Our team has experience completely renovating estate homes and we enjoy giving you our best results.

Working with Your Renovation Contractors & Staff

It’s important to stay engaged in the process with your property renovation specialists. Asking questions, offering suggestions, and being involved are critical. Estate property renovations, being older and rich with history, tend to be more successful when there are fewer last-minute changes. Because your specialists will be working with older foundations and materials, a clear vision will help.

Planning Your Complete Home Renovation

Our luxury design-build experts are ready to talk to you and/or your estate manager about your goals for your property. We take care of everything from concept to completion to bring your property dreams to life. Contact us today and you’ll be in touch with one of our team members.

8 Luxury Home Upgrades That Increase Value

If you have been searching for luxury home upgrades that add value to your home, look no further. Although, there are many kinds of upgrades that can be done to any property to add value, we’ve put together eight luxury upgrades that are sure to put you and your property ahead of the pack.

Energy Consumption Is Passe

Modern trends are leaning more and more towards eco-friendly, energy-efficient upgrades. Everyone is looking to save on utilities. Modifying your house to be more environmentally friendly, or “green,” is a luxury home upgrade that adds immediate value to your home. Consider solar panels for electricity to add extra value to your home. Consider replacing aged windows and entryways with eco-friendly windows and doors to save on heating and cooling. Drought-tolerant landscaping is another functional way to make your yard look gorgeous and perform efficiently.
Luxury home upgrade solar paneling on roof

Make Your Home “Smart”

Converting your home to a “smart” home is not just a fad, it is the way of the future. This forward-thinking investment will definitely impact you home’s value moving forward. Being able to control lighting, heating/cooling, and security features with the ease of a mobile device is a clever luxury home upgrade. The ability to zone conditioned air using a “smart” thermostat is another positive selling point for the new homebuyer.

More Space = More Money

Is there such a thing as too much space? Not for the modern-day family. Current and potential homeowners place a high value on plenty of space. Adding an addition to your home is an excellent way to add more worth to your property. Even adding a 1000 sq.ft. bedroom is a luxury home upgrade that will have an enormous impact.

The Basement Isn’t Just For Storage Anymore

Maybe you want to work with what you already have. Make your home worth more by finishing the basement. You can easily make this room the coolest in the house; temperature wise or with a game room. Hiring a professional design and remodel company to make this space luxuriously livable can recoup around 70% of it’s costs at the time of resale.

Extend Your Luxury Living To The Outdoors

Turn your outdoors into your own private entertaining venue or spa oasis. Your luxury home upgrades do not have to end where your interior living space does. A custom patio is an excellent way to extend your living room to the outdoors. Deck remodels are a fantastic way to add excellent craftsmanship to your inviting outdoor area. Incorporating a pool or hot tub into the mix are home upgrades that are sure to add value. Don’t forget the landscaping and hardscaping to turn your yard into that oasis you’ve been dreaming about.

Patio design home upgrade that adds value

Open It Up

No one likes to feel closed in, so start thinking about luxurious open-floor design concepts. Maximizing a home’s interior is a luxury home upgrade that will add long lasting value to your property. Don’t go grabbing your sledgehammer yet. Load-bearing walls need to be kept in mind so as not to compromise your structure’s integrity. A-List Builders has got you covered and will alleviate any guesswork for you.

Don’t Forget To Look Down

One home upgrade that adds value, is right under your feet. Long gone are the days of wall to wall carpeting. A necessary luxury home upgrade is trading worn carpet out for gorgeous, functional, flooring. Not only does carpet trap bacteria, dirt, and odor, but it stains easily. Giving your floor a luxurious facelift is a great way to make any room stand out.  Customize a floor’s stain or finish to change the ambience while adding dollar signs.

What’s On The Outside Counts

First impressions are made at first sight, and are often based upon a structure’s outside aesthetics. Remodeling the exterior wall covering is a luxury home upgrade that will transform the appearance of your home, instantly. Nothing will turn heads faster than a stunning exterior. A-List Builders will ensure the correct coating is used for your home’s unique exterior surface. Whether your architectural plans are ready to go or you are looking for a custom design by knowledgeable professionals, contact our full-service home renovators to handle all your remodeling needs, so you don’t have to.

Home Renovation Tips for Remodeling Old Houses

If you are thinking about renovating a house, the age of the home is a major factor in developing the plans for this overhaul. Old house remodels take a special touch when renovating. Old homes were built before modern day building standards were in effect. They were also built of different materials and from a different kind of contractor than your average modern day track home. Thus requiring extra care and a little more effort than your everyday fixer-upper.

Is fixing up an older home worth it? It depends on the project and what your long-term goals are for the property. Home renovation tips are a little different when it comes to reconstructing the bare bones of an old house. Here is some advice to keep in mind so that your endeavours are not in vain and your health stays intact.

What You Need to Know About Old House Remodels

Outdated House Systems

Old homes have antiquated major house systems, as opposed to the modern building appliances that you are probably used to seeing. Your heating/cooling, plumbing, roof, exterior, and electric systems will need to be considered when planning your major update. An important home renovation tip when redoing any major house system, is to always seek further evaluation from a qualified professional before you go cutting wires and replacing roofs.

Health Risks

If your house is truly old, chances are, it is full of unsafe materials like lead and asbestos. For your health, you should have your home’s paint tested for lead so you know what dangers you are working with. You should also watch out for a white substance you see in the home’s building materials while renovating. Unfortunately, asbestos was used frequently in the construction of older homes. Please remember this home renovation tip: never attempt to remove asbestos on your own. It is highly dangerous to your health, if disturbed. An abatement company will need to be called for removal.

Unavailable Materials

You may run into building material problems. Sometimes the materials used to build your home are no longer available. Old house remodels may require you to visit an architectural salvage store or other similar reuse/recycle centers. If you are looking for original materials, be ready to pay the price. It can get expensive to find the real thing.

Multiple Owners or Generational Ownership

Your house is old, so you know it has changed ownership a few dozen times in its life, or it’s been your family’s ownership for generations without much change. A home renovation tip to keep in mind is to allow wiggle room in you budget for unforeseen corrections that may need to be made. A lot of times, while renovating, you will come across the haunting handy work that a past owner has left behind. This usually involves unapproved methods and almost always involves budget-friendly techniques.

For Homeowners Looking To Completely Renovate

It’s best to err on the side of caution with your allowed time to complete your project. Old house remodels tend to take some time, if done properly. Make sure you budget much more time and money for your home renovation than you think you need. A home renovation tip and a good rule of thumb to practice, is to set aside a contingency account for unexpected problems and changes that will most likely occur with such a project. This will help alleviate some of the stress that can come along with major renovations. Electrical wiring and plumbing problems are common in older homes. If your house was built before 1960, galvanized pipes were used for both interior plumbing and sewer lines. They tend to get clogged and corrode over time. A good home renovation tip to consider when replacing old plumbing, is to exchange the galvanized pipes for PVC or copper. Additionally, the property’s electrical system will need to be brought up to code to avoid major safety issues.

Home renovation tip to replace plumbing

All renovations done by a licensed, qualified company will need to be brought up to standards. Meaning all receptacles will need to be updated to GFCI and possibly AFCI protection. Smoke and CO2 combination detectors will also need to be installed in every room on every floor, including the garage.

Tips For Property Managers

If you currently manage an old property or are renovating one to eventually manage in the future, maintenance is the key to your success. All old homes need continual maintenance to keep the whole home system working properly. Proper exterior covering protection and a solid roof system are any buildings first defense. The most overlooked home renovation tip is to always ensure proper ventilation. This will prevent mold and moisture issues, which is your home’s mortal enemy. Inform your tenants to keep their bathroom windows open, unless you decide to install mechanical venting. During an old house remodel, make sure not to overlook the things you can’t see. Seek help from a professional design and remodeling company who can help you find or recreate the look and feel you are looking for.

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Here is what a few of them say.

  • Kobi R.

    It’s been years since I’ve done any work to my home so I was nervous about the whole project. Thankfully, I found a company that not only provided me with a patient ( I am very particular) and punctual contractor, Rani, but the job came out better than I expected. After doing such an amazing job on the kitchen, I expressed to Rani that I would like to do some more work with him but money, unfortunately, doesn’t grow on trees. Fortunately, Rani found an affordable way for me to redo all the bathrooms and flooring throughout the house.

  • Beverly S.

    Our initial meeting with Rani was excellent due to him giving us information and ideas we hadn’t thought of. He returned a week later with a presentation for our kitchen. Again, we were surprised at his additional ideals and his presentation. We had previously had two of the big-box stores come out so we had an idea of cost. Rani was more reasonable and offered us better and more creative ideas. Our kitchen is completed and we feel we qualify for Better Homes & Gardens. We would recommend our experience and job to everyone.

  • Warren M.

    After about a year and a half after we remodeled our bathroom, we had some minor electrical issues and reached out to A-List Builders. Ben followed up consistently and in a timely manner until my needed repair work was done.

  • Debbie W.

    Everyone was professional, nice and knowledgeable. I am so happy with their work and I will be using them again for my next project. In addition, I will be referring them (which I don't do unless I completely trust a job well done) to my family and friends. Thank you, again, for such a positive experience.

  • Deborah B.

    I hired A-List for a large restoration project. The project involved wall replacement with framing & drywall, stucco, exterior & interior painting, foundation reinforcement, a new exterior gate, fence repair, brick & tile walkways. Ben was the only contractor I interviewed who recommended that an engineer inspect the foundation as part of the evaluation process. Megan cheerfully worked through the process with my insurance company. All of the on-site workers were a pleasure to work with. They arrived early, were professional, & kept the work-site clean & organized...even the city inspector commented positively about A-List's knowledge & organization. A-List Builders did a great job & their follow-up was excellent.

  • Lou D.

    Like so many people in LA we bought a fixer upper. Over the last 5 years we have searched intently for a contractor we could trust. Never has a contractor come on our property that affected us the way Ben and Megan from A-List Builders have. They immediately understood our needs and made brilliant suggestions. They answered every question, every call, and it was such a difference dealing with them than any company we've ever hired before. They did not waste a minute of our time, nor did they try to get us to do more than we wanted. Their pricing is more than fair. They are so good at what they do and completely trustworthy and make hard things much easier. There actually IS a really good General Contractor out there and a company that does all that it promises and more.

  • Anonymous

    I used A-List Builders for my Bathroom Remodel and my bathroom is more beautiful now than I could have ever imagined...I met with Ben who gave me a free estimate for the job and knew right away that A-List Builders was the company I was going to use for the job. Their estimate was fair, and their communication throughout the entire process was fantastic. I always knew there was going to be someone else on the other line if I needed to get a hold of them for any reason. Their workers were true pros that did an immaculate job, excellent craftmanship and very good at keeping the renovation area very clean. I absolutely love my new bathroom and have already recommended them to two of my friends. Truly a great experience!

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