Month: March 2020

Home Renovation Questions

Unless you’re an expert in the field, you may be going into the exciting process of remodeling completely blind and without a clue of where, when, or how to start. Check out this list of the top questions renovators ask when seeking home remodeling help. When you’re ready for a consultation, schedule a free one with us. A-List Builders has been serving LA since 2010. Get honest answers to your important home renovation questions when you contact us over our website. 

1. How Much Will It Cost?

Costs for the work you want depends on multiple factors, such as:

  • Level of detail
  • Size of the project
  • Amount of labor required
  • Elements such as plumbing, electrical, etc.

For example: turning your old garage into a guest house or extra bedroom costs more than remodeling your kitchen—particularly if the additional dwelling unit has water and electricity. Starting from scratch with a new construction is a larger, more labor-intensive project than revamping your backyard for barbecue season.

Open-concept living room.

These factors make cost estimation a tricky home renovation question to answer. Know what to expect monetary-wise by contacting the construction company in the early stages. Quality work from trusted contractors is worth the price. Home remodeling help from A-List Builders consists of total transparency and realistic budgeting expectations. Refining your idea until you reach a price and plan you are satisfied with is part of our customer service experience.

2. How Long Will it Take?

Similarly to cost, the length of the project is determined by its size and needs. Having a larger team working for you as opposed to one individual makes for faster progress. If you require permits, knowing someone familiar with LA County residential building permits and regulations can save you both time and money.

3. Why Do I Need Permits?

Permits are necessary when the renovation affects the current structure of a residence. They are essentially written authorizations from the city giving your project the green light. As far as this home renovation question goes, permits make sure the work you are about to do does not violate any zoning laws, that the home remodeling help you hired are in compliance with the county, and that you won’t be required to tear down your work should the city raise an issue later on.

Contractors who are unfamiliar with or insist on not going through the permit process should raise a red flag. If it comes out later that a permit was necessary and you failed to get it, the result can be doubled or tripled fees when you go get the permit your contractor failed to tell you about.

4. Will This Increase the Value of my Home?

Pool lounge chairs sitting on a deck at sunset.

Updated features and increased functionality are great for adding value to your residence. Adding an extra bedroom or bathroom is bound to catch someone’s eye who needs it. Homes with improved energy efficiency and air conditioning typically go for more than homes without. Not to mention charming homes that have received home remodeling help attract more attention and therefore increase your chance of selling.

5. Should I Document Warranties, Permits, Contracts, Etc.?

The short and simple answer to this home renovation question is: absolutely yes. Disputes regarding the quality of work, written permissions, or issues with your contractor are all unpleasant and worst-case scenarios, but they can happen. Properly storing all important documentation is the best way to cover yourself should the need arise.

6. How Do I Find the Perfect Contractor?

Many turn to word-of-mouth or online reviews when looking for home remodeling help. Asking close friends and family and hearing their successes and horror stories can give you an idea of where to start and who to avoid. 

Research is key. Review the company’s testimonials and portfolio.  If you feel confident that the quality craftsmanship is there, reach out to the contractor and speak with them personally. Ask them any of these home renovation questions. Book a consultation after if you’re satisfied with their answers. 

7. When Should I Renovate?

Dog sitting on a couch in an city residence.

Spring is the most popular time for renovations. While the heat of summer can complicate remodeling, one major benefit to California’s warmer weather is getting home remodeling help is common during winter. The major upside to winter-time home renovations is you’re working off-season, which means business isn’t as chaotic when you book.

8. Where Should I Start?

LA residents looking to optimize their living space and get the most out of their homes start by booking a consultation with A-List Builders. Our team is with you from beginning to end the moment you schedule a free consultation. From there, we work with you and prioritize your individual needs and lay out a plan. 

Whether we’re tackling more than one room, working within a strict budget, or trying to achieve a specific vision or feel to your new space, we may be the experts, but you’re the boss. Contact us today and let us handle the hard part.  We’re here to help with all your home renovation questions.

About Residential Building Permits in Los Angeles County

What to Know About Residential Building Permits in Los Angeles

Much like the city that shares its name, Los Angeles County can be overwhelming and intimidating—particularly when it comes to residential building permits. Countless building codes paired with a long and sometimes difficult permit process are off-putting for many looking to build their dream home or add space and functionality to their current residence. 

Here’s what LA residents should know about building and garage conversion permits before pursuing their next home renovation project. When you’re finally ready to get started, simplify the process by contacting A-List Builders. We’re here to help with permitting, designing, building, and more. Book your free consultation in just minutes.

Interior vs. Exterior Renovations

If your dream home makeover plans require adding exterior structures to your home, chances are Los Angeles County will require a residential building permit. The Public Works Department is required to inspect construction plans that could pose potential flood or storm drain issues later on. If a hazard is discovered, your petition for a building permit may be declined by LA County and your plans will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Collection of open paint cans and brushes.

Superficial renovation plans like painting your home typically do not require a permit, but always check with your HOA for any additional restrictions there. Similarly, most interior remodeling jobs don’t require permits. Opening your kitchen floor plan or revamping your bathroom doesn’t need special permissions unless features like plumbing or electrical are involved.

Remodel vs. New Construction

If you’re building a new house from the ground up or remodeling your garage or basement, the depth of work required to actualize your plans will affect whether you’ll need a residential building permit from LA County

Permits are necessary for work involving:

  • Heavy construction equipment
  • Underground storage tanks
  • Plumbing and electrical
  • Roads, driveways, and walkways

A significant remodel like converting an old existing structure into an accessory dwelling unit will require a series of permits, particularly if you want to make the space livable with HVAC, power outlets, or running water. For example, a garage conversion permit is a must in Los Angeles when transforming your old garage into a fully-functional guest house.

Completely new constructions require a slew of permissions before work can begin. The amount of time it takes to get your residential building permits approved by Los Angeles County can also be impacted by the location you wish you build on. Water accessibility, historical landmark status, zoning guidelines, and other environmental factors play a major role. 

Be Safe, Not Sorry

If your project involves remodeling the structure of your residence in any way, your project needs to be approved by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. LADBS can inform homeowners of necessary building permits in LA County before you get too invested in your remodel. 

Electrical box with a “high voltage” warning.

Err on the side of caution by contacting LADBS to avoid costly legal issues later. Unpermitted work can lower the value of your home or result in increased fees. If the work later needs to be removed or adjusted, the county will do so at the homeowner’s expense.

Additionally, speaking with your HOA is a great idea. No one wants to go through the process of getting a residential building permit from the Los Angeles County office only to find out there are community restrictions that might destroy your plans.

Let Us Help

Starting your next home renovation project is hassle-free with A-List Builders. As a top-rated design-build construction company, we are the experts on building permits for Los Angeles County. Schedule your free consultation through our website or over the phone, and work with professionals who will collaborate with you from concept to execution. Your home is your sanctuary and remodeling it shouldn’t be a stressful inconvenience. Know that when you’re working with A-List Builders, you’re getting quality craftsmanship and customer service. Get in touch today.

Our clients believe in us.

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!

So, what do you think?

If you’re ready to start talking about your project,
pick up the phone and give us a call at