Renovation Tips

Building a Guest House? Here’s What to Know

As rent and real estate prices continue to rise throughout Southern California, building additional or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) is becoming more and more appealing to homeowners. For those who have someone in their family that requires extensive care, ADUs can be essential as they offer extra living space and serve to accommodate live-in caretakers or family members.

At A-List Builders, we work with Los Angeles families for the long term. We’ve seen the increased need for additional space for older generations and their caretakers, or for younger family members who need a place to land when life throws the unexpected their way. We’ve provided some considerations to make and questions to ask yourself below if you plan on adding a guest house in your backyard or anywhere else on your property. 

Small House With a White Picket Fence

To Renovate an Existing Space or to Build Your ADU From Scratch? 

The biggest problem that homeowners may run into when they’re considering building a guest house in their backyard is if the property lacks the space or acreage for additional structures, or existing garage or shed structures get in the way. Fortunately, existing structures don’t have to prevent you from building an ADU on your property as there are two different courses of action you can take to achieve this goal! 

If you have plenty of space in your backyard, building a guest house in backyard space is as simple as finding a design that works best for the space available. If, however, you may not have enough space to dedicate to a guest house, you could also choose to renovate your garage or turn another area in your property into an independent living space. 

This brings us to our next point. 

Types of ADUs to Consider 

Interior of a tiny home

While certain ADUs, like detached units or converted garages, may be the most popular choices, there are multiple ADU options that you should look into when you decide that you require additional living space on your property. Some of these ADU options include:

  • An attached ADU that is connected to the main home but still allows for independent living
  • An interior ADU that is located in the upper section of the house, such as the attic
  • An interior ADU that is located in the lower section of the house, such as the basement
  • An attached ADU that is built above an existing structure like the garage

While building a guest house in backyard space is one of the most desirable ADU concepts, the type of ADU that you choose will depend upon your individual needs, what you plan on using your ADU for in the future, and how comfortable you are with another individual living in the main house. Keep these things in mind when reviewing what ADU options you have at your disposal.

Additional Considerations to Make When Researching ADUs

Although the decision to build an ADU on your property is one that may be non-negotiable for some at this point in time, there are still important considerations to make before you undertake this kind of project. To help you become clearer on your goal, here are a few questions that you’ll want to ask yourself. 

  1. What Is My Budget for This Project? Your budget will ultimately determine the type of ADU you choose. Set aside some time to do further research into how much this project will cost, what your budget is, and how you can make this project a reality. 
  2. How Long Does an ADU Take to Build? Understanding the amount of time that it takes for this type of project is crucial to ensuring you have your building prepared when you need it. For example, if you’re looking to provide housing for a live-in caregiver, you’ll want to ensure that the ADU is prepared for them by the time you enlist the help of such a professional. 
  3. What Do I Need to Take Care of in the Meantime? Chances are,  there are other tasks you can take care of while you’re planning on establishing a guest house in backyard space. This could include finding new furniture or deciding which of your furniture you want to move to your ADU, seeking out the new tenant for your ADU beforehand, and coming up with plans for the interior design. 

Start Your ADU Journey With Us

With a better idea of what you’re looking for out of your ADU, all that’s left to do is reach out to A-List Builders to help you design your ideal space. Our team of designers and contractors work with you every step of the way to ensure that you’re receiving the best service possible from conception to completion, regardless of whether you decide on building a guest house or renovating an existing space. 

If you’re ready to add your own guest house in backyard space, schedule a discovery call with us so that we can learn more about your needs, help you come up with a design and a timeline, and begin the construction of your new guest house!

Small Backyard Renovations for Improving Your Indoor-Outdoor Living

Southern California is well-known for its temperate climate in the inland areas and the gorgeous Mediterranean-style climate in the coastal regions, making it the perfect place to realize all of your outdoor living dreams. But with all of the potential sitting right outside of your home, how do you get started? 

Whether you’re new to the region or want to experience your home as you never have before, let’s walk through some small backyard renovations for improving your indoor-outdoor living and to breathe new life into your outdoor space. 


Design a Patio Space for a Quiet Reprieve

2020’s stay-at-home orders left many residents feeling restless, but the truth is that you don’t have to leave the house to escape. One excellent renovation to pursue if you’re wanting to experience some change is to design an outdoor patio space where you can tuck yourself away when you’re feeling like you need a reprieve from work and a break from your day-to-day. 

This can mean adding some cozy outdoor furniture to your patio, making space for sitting and reading or engaging in other activities that put you at ease. Worried about the winter chill getting to you while you’re enjoying your indoor-outdoor space? Now is the perfect time to consider building an outdoor wood-burning or gas fireplace that’ll keep you warm while you’re enjoying your new patio. 

Whenever life becomes overwhelming and you need to break away, making a patio space one of your small backyard renovations is an excellent way to get the most out of indoor-outdoor living. Plus, if you work from home full time, this provides a new space for when you need a change of scenery.


Build an Outdoor Kitchen to Spice Up Your Culinary Habits

Although how we entertain guests has changed and will likely look different for a while, we know we’ll return to being able to fully host gatherings. Having access to an outdoor kitchen gives you the ability to entertain when the need arises. Additionally, it can offer you a way to switch things up when your cooking habits start feeling a bit too mundane. This can be especially important given that many have turned to cooking as a way to occupy themselves as many continue to social distance. 

The outdoor kitchen that you ultimately decide on will depend upon your individual cooking habits. However, many wonderful outdoor kitchens offer amenities like a built-in grill, built-in cooktops, mini-refrigerators, food preparation spaces, storage for your cooking utensils, and even bar preparation and beverage cooling stations. Small backyard renovations like these can make a world of difference in how you use your indoor-outdoor space. 

Who knows? Building an outdoor kitchen may make outdoor dining your new favorite activity!


Carve Out an Area Where You Can Simply Be With and Enjoy Nature

Man gardening with a woman

With everyone spending more time at home, being able to go out and connect with nature may be a deeply missed activity. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Another way to get more out of your indoor-outdoor area is to carve out a space for nature where you can simply sit and be. 

Whether this entails pursuing a minimalistic backyard design decorated with some of your favorite flowers and foliage,  adding ponds and statues for aesthetics, or opting for hardscape updates, focusing on small backyard renovations gives you ways to connect with nature (or tend to your plants if you love to grow your own), and simply relax.


Create Your Ideal Indoor-Outdoor Living Space Today!

If a better indoor-outdoor living experience has become a focus for you, reach out to A-List Builders to help you design your ideal space. From conception to completion, our team of designers and contractors work with you to understand what it is you want from your indoor-outdoor space and how we can best deliver that to you, handling every step of the project so that you don’t have to. 

All you have to do to get started is to schedule a discovery call where we’ll discuss your ideas in greater detail to understand whether or not we’re the right fit for you. Then, we’ll meet with you to provide you with an estimate and a timeline, provide you with a more comprehensive design for your concept based on your backyard space, and begin the hard work that goes behind taking your design and making it a reality.

Whether you plan on incorporating a peaceful patio into your backyard, building an outdoor kitchen, or getting in touch with nature by taking advantage of our hardscaping and landscaping services, give us a call to get started on these small backyard renovations that will help you get more out of your property!

Home Office Remodel Tips

With many Los Angeles companies and individuals making the transition to work from home, there is a great opportunity to personalize your workspace and create a comfortable environment that can increase your productivity and efficiency. If you’re still not sure exactly where you want to work from, a home office remodel could be the key to ensuring your space delivers exactly what you need. Learn more about some of the office remodel ideas from A-List Builders to get you started!

  1. Accessibility

There’s no reason why your office environment shouldn’t have the space, comfort, and privacy you need to work from home. Consider your requirements when in a normal office and learn how to translate those into your space. If you don’t have a great spot to work from, look at home office renovation ideas based on your needs.

Do you expect to receive clients in your home office? Do you need complete silence to work? Are you looking for a space that offers enough room to get up and get moving? All of these will have an effect on how you choose and modify your work space.

Your home office remodel should consider whether you need an additional entrance, more insulation from the noises of the world outside, or an open floor plan that allows you to bring in a treadmill desk or workout area.

  1. Build an ADU

renovating an ADU or shed into a home office

Some people need complete and utter disconnection from their home to create the perfect work environment. Building an ADU (additional dwelling unit) is one way you can achieve this. Some people choose to renovate and convert an existing structure like a garage, while others want new construction from the ground up.

Adding an ADU to your space may depend on your home office remodel requirements, the square footage of your lot and current size of your house, as well as other Los Angeles County codes and permitting requirements. Luckily, A-List Builders has the experience and connections you need to evaluate your space and help figure out if an ADU is an option for you.

  1. From Top to Bottom

If you’re looking for smaller home office remodel ideas, consider your office from top to bottom. Everything from the wall paint and decor to the lighting fixtures and flooring can be changed to fit your aesthetics and accommodate your needs.


People don’t realize that the way their office looks is directly related to their productivity. Working in a space that makes you feel positive ensures your creativity and production surges. Additionally, changing your floors with a minor home office remodel to something like hardwood or laminate makes it easier to clean up spills, footprints, and other stains.

Engineered wood especially, gives your space a more contemporary and professional feel. It’s affordable, durable, and easy to maintain—able to withstand heavy traffic, make no noise, and it’s scratch resistant.


Lighting has a huge impact on the ambiance of your office and can completely change your working capabilities. If you don’t have layered lighting that considers ambient, task, and accent lighting, you need to reevaluate this issue. With a minor home office remodel, you can install recessed lighting or track lighting in your ceiling. Task lighting can be anything from a desk lamp to a hanging pendant light above your work space and accent lighting simply highlights any wall art or other decor elements in your office.

  1. Make Small Changes

home office remodel with built in desk

Not every home office remodel needs to make a major change. Explore some of these smaller home office renovation ideas to get you started:

  • Cabinetry and shelving is an efficient way to improve storage space without stacking things on your desk or on the floor.
  • Wall mounted baskets can be a great way to stay organized and they add a modern sense of style to your space.
  • Mounted mirrors and large windows can trick your mind into feeling like the space is much larger than it is.
  • Built-in desks save you tons of space that you can use for other things and makes your office look unique and chic.
  1. Hardware & Wiring

Some people don’t consider that convenient computer and telephone wiring installation is an important element of office design. Knocking out drywall for rewiring and installing additional outlets could be a crucial element of making your new office space workable. Remember that you need strong connectivity to the internet and ensure you’re well situated for home presentations with this basic home office remodel.

Your Workspace Matters

Your work day is much more pleasant when you enjoy the space in which you have to do it. Discover the difference that these office remodel ideas make to your work-life balance and reach out to A-List Builders when you’re ready for an estimate or consultation.

How to Plan for Remodeling Your Home & Stay on Budget

Many construction firms expect homeowners to know everything about the ins and outs of financing a home addition or ensuring that home remodeling stays on budget. At A-List Builders, we understand that there are many layers and a lot of complexity to doing a renovation and we’re here to help guide you through the best ways to do everything from an ADU build to bathroom remodeling on your budget. Learn more about how to plan for your remodel financially with tips from our experts.

  1. Set Your Goals

Figuring out exactly what you want is the first step to home remodeling on a budget. While you can always discuss material specifics with us, figuring out why you’re renovating a space is crucial. Do you need an additional bathroom so all your kids can get ready at the same time? Are you redoing the kitchen for more counter space? Is an open floor plan more aesthetically appealing to you?

Once you know why you want something, you can focus on that and avoid wasting time and money on peripheral things that try to side track you.

  1. Get Specifics

Even before you start looking at the numbers, take your goals and decide on the details. Now is the time to pin down your preferences for materials and finishing, as these can substantially affect your costs and complicate financing a home addition. Everything from hardwood flooring and carpet to formica and granite countertops need to be taken into consideration.

Taking these extra steps to hammer out the specifics, also ensures you have more details to give your contractor for an accurate estimate. If we know exactly what you want, we’re far more likely to be able to pull information on cost per square foot and provide a precise quote for your home remodeling on a budget.

  1. Assess Financing

Hearth 310x610
Not everyone can afford to pay for their renovation or remodel in cash. If you need to look at financing for a home addition, it means exploring HELOCs (home equity line of credit), personal loans, or even refinancing your original home loan. At A-List Builders, we can actually help you with this step as well as the design, planning, and management of your project.

We’ve teamed up with a company called Hearth to offer you personalized financing options and ensure you can complete home remodeling on your budget. With 13 lenders, we take a close look at your preferences and requirements and sort through the various options available before presenting you with a financial plan that is perfect for your needs.

  1. Get a Hard Quote

architect working on blueprints

The first estimate you get from most design/build firms is just that—an estimate. After you discuss the nitty gritty details, we can give you a hard quote with a far more detailed outline of project costs, timeline, and more.

There are two ways you can strive to stick to home remodeling on your budget: a time-and-materials contract or a fixed-price contract. A time-and-materials contract is based on the time employees and subcontractors spend to complete the work on your project as well as the materials they ended up using. A fixed-price contract is where you pay a lump sum for the project up front and that’s it.

  1. Set Aside Extra Funds

In life, there are no guarantees. If you’re trying to complete a home remodeling project on a budget, it’s good practice to assume that mistakes and surprises will happen. To mitigate the costs and avoid having to make compromises on the scope of work, our experts recommend putting aside an extra 10-15% of the total project cost. Best case scenario, you don’t need to use these funds and can spend them on furnishings. Worst case scenario, something happens and you already have the money you need to remedy the situation.

  1. Find Places to Cut Costs

There are many places in a renovation project where you can—and should—cut costs, especially if you’re home remodeling on a budget. While you don’t want to sacrifice on crucial elements, like workmanship and material quality, you can save a little money with these strategies:

  • Low Cost Finishings: Explore the cost of different materials before deciding on a final finish. Many times, you’ll find that choosing a slightly different shade of hardwood can save you a lot per square foot. The same goes for choosing laminate countertops instead of granite or quartzite instead of marble in your bathroom.
  • Refurbished Furnishings: There’s no need to buy brand new home appliances or furniture. Choosing refurbished or salvaged pieces can help you save up to 30% over new items.
  • DIY: Doing little things, like pulling up carpeting, removing bathroom tile, or painting on your own, can end up saving you a lot of money in the long term.

Working with A-List Builders

ongoing construction and remodeling

A-List Builders is proud to be able to offer you comprehensive guidance for your home renovation from concept to completion. Whether it’s just bathroom remodeling on a budget or an entire home renovation, we’re here to provide you estimates, advice, and financing. Trust in our team to have your best interests at heart!

Ready to get started? Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

Remodeling vs. Renovations: Is There A Difference?

Your home is many things: a place for game night, a workspace, or an escape after a stressful day. If you’ve only recently started to spend extended periods of time in your house, you’re not alone. Due to the ongoing stay-at-home orders, homeowners are finding their schedules disturbed and rooms reinvented. Bedrooms are turning into office spaces as more of us work from home, and more time is spent in our backyards as we practice social distancing and avoid outdoor gatherings, playgrounds and parks.

If you’ve recently realized adding an office or renovating your backyard would greatly improve your home, our renovation and remodeling company is here to help. Learn about remodeling vs. renovation so you know what to expect as you start your list of must-haves for your home makeover.

Install a stunning patio where you can relax and get fresh air, add an extra room to your home so you can focus on your business or hobby, or create a new space ideal for friends and family once the stay-at-home orders are lifted. Once you’re ready, contact A-List Builders and start putting your plan into action.

Restructuring through Remodeling

Many people use “remodel” or “renovate” interchangeably. While both services play a role in residential makeovers, a remodeled home vs. a renovated one requires more work and planning. Remodeling involves altering the structure of your home. Special permissions and paperwork are typically required before the construction process can begin due to the structural risks that a poorly done remodel can impose, in addition to abiding by the building laws of your area.

Changing current structural elements or creating new ones within your home is an effective way to increase the value of your residence while also freshening up the look of your kitchen, backyard, or bathroom. Renovations are ideal for cosmetic fixes around the house, but dramatically reinventing the functionality of a space with remodeling versus renovation gives you more options.

An elaborate backyard landscape remodel with a water feature.

Complete home remodels are also an option for those wanting to change the look and function of their home entirely. One of the biggest questions homeowners need to ask themselves before considering a complete home remodel is whether the remodel or renovation changes they want to make are too extensive or if they should invest in a new space instead.

Reimagining with Renovations

There are many benefits to home renovations. If you love your home’s floor plan but are seeking surface-level, cosmetic changes, a renovation versus a remodeling might be all you need.

A remodeled deck with an additional dwelling unit.

Home makeovers of this caliber are cosmetic and therefore may require little to no paperwork filed with the city. Renovations can take less time than more comprehensive home remodeling projects.

Simple renovations like a change of color or an accent wall can effectively change the look or feel of any room. When shopping for your next home, keep in mind that factors like paint color, wallpaper, or tiles are cosmetic features.

Reinvent Your Home with A-List Builders

Whether you’re looking to design an inviting space for future social gatherings or want to increase your eligibility for a residential tax break, A-List Builders is happy to remodel or renovate your home. Collaborating with a renovation and remodeling company like A-List Builders means you have access to a team with years of experience designing, building, filing permits, and more.

Learn whether your vision calls for a remodel or a renovation. Begin a new chapter of your life in your home with an additional dwelling unit or sunroom, or start from scratch with a brand new construction. Get your important remodel and renovation questions answered by consulting with our award-winning design-build company today!

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.

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

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.

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!

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