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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States

8605895155

Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

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Articles

O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.

 

Filtering by Tag: renovation

Simple Projects To Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

Chelsea O'Donnell

With real estate season heating up, you might be thinking about small remodeling projects to get the best possible price for your home. If a major renovation isn’t up your alley, you could consider smaller “spruce-up” projects that will give your house a refresh without breaking the bank. Here are some areas to focus on:

The Kitchen

A kitchen is almost always the hub of a house, even for non-cooks. People love to get together to make meals, chat about each other’s day, and enjoy casual snacks in a comfortable common space. For any potential buyer, a kitchen design that’s clean, functional, and snazzy will help to increase the sale price. Just remember to keep your updates neutral enough to appeal to lots of potential buyers.

Curb Appeal

First impressions are crucial when listing a house on the market. It goes without saying that roof streaked with mold and overgrown landscaping will turn people away. Spend some time updating roofing and siding and use a professional landscaper or tap into your inner green thumb to spruce up plants and shrubs. You’d be shocked at how much of a difference a few small changes will make.

The Master Suite

With how busy people are, creating an oasis for a potential buyer to enjoy can score you major points. A master bedroom complete with an ensuite is always a wise investment, especially if it exudes relaxation. Soaking tubs, double sinks, and large closets have mass appeal and paying attention to little extras can help people see themselves enjoying their potential new home.

Backyard

When the warm weather comes people are chomping at the bit to get outside, which is why creating a backyard retreat is always a good idea. From firepits to barbecue areas, privacy fencing to comfortable seating areas, making the most of a yard is a sure fire way to encourage buyers to consider your home. An additional living space, such as a three season porch, is also a huge bonus.

Paint

Lots of homeowners paint their interiors to suit their lifestyles. That might mean bright blue and pink colored bedrooms for kids and a few old trends that have seen better days (who ever thought red walls were a good idea?). Repainting with neutral grays, bright whites, and warm taupe tones will give a home an instant facelift without too much expense or effort.

Have you thought about giving your home a mini-makeover to get it ready for sale? What are your favorite tips? I’d love to hear from you, send me a message on Facebook at facebook.com/odonnellbros

Bob O'Donnell is the owner of O'Donnell Bros, Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro”. All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O'Donnell Bros, Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.


Investing in a Fixer Upper? Bobby O's Five Must-Read Tips

Chelsea O'Donnell

For a lot of young people, a first step onto the property ladder might mean purchasing an older home that needs a bit of work. Fixer-uppers can be a great way to enter the real estate market, especially if you’re handy around the house and know a thing or two about remodeling. But if you’re new to the game, getting swayed into paying too much for a rundown home that needs more work than it’s worth can be a real risk. Here are some things to think about before sinking your life savings into a piece of property:

 

Mr. Inspector

No matter what, always make sure you have an inspector look at the property and report on his or her findings. Lots of homes look perfectly fine on the outside but have expensive or even toxic damage hidden within the property. An inspector will document any issues he or she finds, and at the very least you should be able to use that information to negotiate the price with the seller. If major parts of the house such as the foundation or structural walls need replacing, or if the house has lead paint, lead pipes, or asbestos, you might want to rethink your potential purchase entirely.

 

Your Budget +15%

Be really clear about how much you are willing to spend to renovate your purchase into the house of your dreams, and be sure to include the cost of materials, the labor and any permits and paperwork in your estimate. Know that very few projects run to budget, so tack on an extra 15% to give yourself some breathing room. Think about what projects have to be dealt with immediately and which ones can wait. Broken stairs might need immediate attention, but the pink sink and bathtub might just grow on you – at least for the first year.

 

A Piece of History

Make sure you are aware of the historic status of an old home. Many people purchase houses in an area or zone that doesn’t allow the aesthetic to be changed, which could put a real damper on your dream plans. Also, know that historic restoration is much more expensive than a normal remodel, and it often requires specialists to get the job done right. Be aware of this before you buy.

 

Keep it Vanilla

A lot of young people buy fixer uppers with plans to remodel in a way that suits them personally. This is fine, but consider what types of projects will enhance the resale value of your home and attract a wide variety of buyers. Additionally, make sure that your remodeling plans keep your house in line with the other homes in the area. Real estate experts suggest keeping your home within 10-15% of the median sale price of other homes in the neighborhood. The last thing you want to do is spend a fortune to revamp a house and then not be able to sell it when the time is right. 

 

Your Crew

Once you decide on your fixer-upper, make sure you hire experts to handle each individual job. Many people are tempted to get one handyman to install the flooring, replace the electrical, and fix the plumbing as a way to save money. This usually comes back to bite the homeowner as no general contractor can be an expert at everything. Find a pro that you love and ask him or her for recommendations. Every contractor has other tradespeople that they feel comfortable introducing to their clients because they do great work. Remember, it’s their reputation on the line too.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.


The Pros and Cons of Creating an Outdoor Space

Chelsea O'Donnell

With all this snow, giving your outdoor space a spruce-up is probably the last thing on your mind. But believe it or not, the warmer weather is on its way, and taking advantage of it should be high on your priority list.

If you’re thinking about making your backyard a summer oasis, there are some things to consider. Is it better to install a patio or lay a deck? Which will look best, last the longest, and be the most cost effective? Let’s go through the pros and cons of a deck versus a patio to give you some ideas.

Decks are generally laid above the ground, so if your property slopes or if you have a lot of tree roots or stone jutting out of the yard, a deck will probably be the easiest choice. Most decks are made from wood, but there are also vinyl and composite materials available which mimic the look of wood but offer the benefit of less maintenance and a longer life span. Decks look great and offer a significant resale value, but there are a few cons too. Wood decks require regular cleaning and staining to keep them looking new, and they will fade and can rot without upkeep. Some people say that a deck will only last 10 years, but with regular upkeep, they will easily double that lifespan. In terms of cost, a deck made of pine will cost somewhere between $15 to $25 per square foot while a sturdier wood such as cedar will come with a price tag of $25 to $30 per square foot. If you’re looking for a composite or vinyl option, this will be the most expensive at roughly $30 to $45 per square foot. As a rough guide, an average 16x20 foot deck could cost you anywhere between $4,800 to $14,400 depending on the type of material you use.

This brings us to patios. If you have a flat yard, a patio might be a great choice because they are easy to install, require minimal maintenance, and are generally the less expensive option. There are also tons of aesthetic choices, from plain and stamped concrete to brick, pavers, stone, and more. With so many options, you can definitely make a patio stand out, but just like wood, the material that you use will directly affect the price. There are a few cons to think about too. Cheaper options such as plain concrete will be prone to cracking and any material that is joined together will likely require regular weeding or the application of weed repellent. While patios tend to require less maintenance than a deck, a bi-annual application of sealant will help to maintain its durability. Looking at patios from a cost perspective, regular concrete might run you around $5 per square foot, while stamped concrete might cost between $8 and $12 per square foot. Brick is an affordable option at around $7 to $8 per square foot while pavers jump up to roughly $10 to $20 per square foot. The most expensive option will be natural stone, which can be anywhere from $15 to north of $30 per square foot. For a 16x20 foot patio, you’d be looking at anywhere from $1,600 to $9,000 depending on what material you choose to lay.

Remember, these prices are just an estimate and costs will always depend on your choice of product, the size of the space, and the uniqueness of your yard.

Have you recently built a deck or laid a patio? Are you thinking about giving your backyard a new look for summer? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message on Facebook at facebook.com/odonnellbros

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.