(978) 479-4607   |   Contact Us   |  

What Is the Best Time of Year to Remodel Your Investment Property?

December 12th, 2023 |

You have some renovations in mind for your investment property. But what is the best time to remodel? Many factors go into scheduling a remodel, from weather conditions to price and contractor availability. Should you plan your project when tenants are away on vacation? Maybe you’re wondering about scheduling a new addition when the ground is frozen. Here are some tips for deciding when to remodel your property. 

Seasonal Price Changes

Finding the best time to remodel is often a matter of supply and demand. While summer is a popular time for renovations, it also an expensive season. Contractors buy lumber, hardware, and other supplies for all those remodels.  

As calendars fill up, contractors and building materials become more difficult to find and prices go up. Demand is high while the supply is low. The result is seasonally high prices for your summertime remodel. 

Contractor Availability 

Contractors are very busy during the summer months, which is a popular time for home remodeling. If you schedule a project for the summer, however, your favorite contractors may already be booked. If top contractors are busy, you’ll have to settle for a team that you’d rather not hire.  

Seasonal price increases can mean that you’ll pay a higher price for lower quality results. If you plan your remodel for the less hectic cold weather months, however, the contractors you really want will be more available at off-season prices. 

Scheduling Major Projects During Vacations

To avoid the hassle of living in a construction zone, people often schedule major renovations during their vacations. Why live with the mess and inconvenience of a remodel if you don’t have to? Summer may be a popular vacation time, but you can also schedule a project while you’re away for the winter holidays. The effects of supply and demand come into play again, making it easier to find a top contractor at a lower price in the winter. 

If you decide to remodel while you or your tenants away, make sure the project team can contact you. You’ll want to know right away if a contractor has an urgent question of if there’s an unexpected setback. 

Remodeling During Cold and Dry Weather

Besides lower prices and contractor availability, the weather itself is a good reason to remodel during fall and winter. Many tasks are easier to carry out in cool, dry conditions. For example, it’s easier to pour a concrete foundation when the ground is frozen. Fall is a great time to install wood flooring, which can swell in hot, humid weather. 

Fall and winter can be the best time to remodel a roof or attic, which can become excessively hot in the summer. Even a swimming pool or deck can be installed in the fall and winter. The project may take longer when the ground is frosty, but it will be easier to find a contractor for the job. 

At RH Blanchard, we are ready to help with your Boston-area renovation. Contact us today for more information and a free quote. 

Read More

Basement Remodeling: What to Expect

November 9th, 2023 |

A basement can be much more than just a storage area. Whether in your home or investment property, basement remodeling contractors can turn that dark, unused area into a livable, functional space. Because of its location, a basement remodel has some unique considerations. Below we discuss what to expect during the project. 

Decide How You Want to Use the Basement

Before you hire basement remodel contractors, decide how you plan to use the space. Are you converting it to a living area or will you be using it as a laundry room? Some remodels require extensive structural changes, while others involve mostly cosmetic work.  

The complexity of the remodel also depends on local building codes and the condition of the basement. A general contracting professional can advise you on the type of work needed to meet your goals. 

Test for Moisture 

Dampness is a common issue in basements, so a remodel will likely involve moisture control. A good way to check for moisture is to tape squares of plastic sheeting to the floor and walls. If you see water droplets underneath the sheeting, the foundation needs sealing. If the droplets form on top, the issue is excess humidity. To reduce humidity, you can install a dehumidifier and increase ventilation by opening windows. 

Make Sure Building Is Up to Code  

Local building codes apply to various aspects of a basement remodel. For example, electrical and plumbing work must meet code requirements and should be carried out by licensed professionals. Building codes apply to other types of basement remodel work, including: 

  • Framing boiler and laundry rooms
  • Ceiling height
  • Clearance around the water heater and furnace

Bringing your basement up to code may involve relocating plumbing or ductwork, or even lowering the floor. Basement remodel contractors have the necessary skills and expertise for this type of work and can assist with obtaining required permits. 

Prevent Mold Growth

Since mold loves a humid, dark environment, a basement remodel should prevent mold before it has a chance to grow. First, seal the floor and walls with a masonry primer. Then, apply latex paint to the walls and epoxy or enamel to the floor. Install a dehumidifier to keep humidity at 65 percent or lower. Insulate pipes to prevent condensation and add weather stripping to doors and windows as a barrier against summer humidity.  

Hire an HVAC Professional to Check the Ventilation 

Poor ventilation and a faulty HVAC system can result in carbon monoxide buildup in the basement. Fuel-burning equipment must be working properly to prevent dangerous levels of this gas. Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and ventilation, and make any necessary repairs or upgrades. 

Plan For Backup Sump Pump 

A backup sump pump is a worthwhile investment to prevent basement flooding. A main pump can fail for a variety of reasons, including power outages and clogs. Installing a battery backup for the main pump and second, stand-alone sump pump can prevent costly flood damage in the future.  

At RH Blanchard, our experienced basement remodeling contractors can transform your Boston-area home or investment property. Contact us today and get your free quote.

Read More

Do I Need a General Contractor to Renovate?

October 16th, 2023 |

It’s time to take the plunge and renovate your investment property. You may wonder, “Do I need a general contractor to renovate?” A general contracting professional is indispensable for some types of projects.

Project Involves Multiple Contractors

Some renovation projects involve complex scheduling of multiple contractors. A general contracting professional understands the timeframe subcontractors need to complete their work. They can keep the project on track and spare you the hassle of time management.  

Building Codes Require a Licensed Contractor

To comply with local building codes, you may have to hire a licensed professional to complete certain projects. A non-professional can be fined if they do some types of work. A licensed general contractor can get permits that you would not legally be able to obtain.  

Warranties Require a Qualified Professional  

A product or material warranty may be valid only if a certified professional does the work. For items that affect the structural integrity of a building — such as a roof or window — the warranty may be voided if you do the work yourself. 

Important Questions When Hiring a General Contractor

Gathering information is an important part of the hiring process. Here are some questions to ask a general contractor. 

Are They Licensed and Insured?

Ask the general contractor for proof that their professional license, liability insurance, and workers’ compensation are all up to date. Do not hire anyone who will not provide documentation of these items. In Massachusetts, you can verify the status of a contractor’s license with the Board of Building Regulations and Standards.  

Will They Obtain Permits?

A reputable general contractor will obtain the necessary permits for your renovation project. Consider it a red flag if a contractor tells you to get the permit yourself or if the project does not need a permit. 

Do They Provide References?

Before hiring, ask a general contractor for references, preferably from projects similar to yours. If the contractor has a history of successful projects, they will happily provide a list of satisfied clients. Ask for pictures of completed projects, too. Contact the references and ask if they are satisfied with the contractor’s work.  

How Will They Communicate?

Whether email, text or phone call, communication between the client and the general contractor is crucial during a renovation project. Ask how often you will hear from the contractor and what type of communication they will use. Certain communications, such as change requests, should be documented in writing. Also, make sure you have contact information for after-hours emergencies. 

Will They Provide an Itemized Bid and Contract?

An itemized bid allows you to discuss and change the cost of materials and labor. The contract should be itemized with specific materials, labor, and payment schedule information. It should include a list of documents the contractor will give you at the end of the project, such as warranties and inspection reports. 

Have you answered yes to the question, “Do I need a general contractor to renovate my Boston-area property?” Get in touch with the general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard for a free quote.

Read More

How to Mix Old and New with an Investment Property Renovation

October 4th, 2023 |

You want to modernize your vintage investment property while preserving its retro charm. Mixing old and new interior design elements can breathe new life into older homes. Whether replacing uneven floors or designing a new kitchen layout, you can update your property for 21st-century living. We’ve listed some tips for blending original and brand-new design features.  

Decide What to Keep

When buying an older property, you may have to make difficult decisions about your favorite features. For example, you’ll have to replace heavily damaged old-world flooring, no matter how attractive it is. On the other hand, you’ll want to hold onto those retro windows that are in good condition. Original crown molding can often stay when renovating an old house.  

Keep elements that do not need extensive repairs and do not create a safety hazard. Replace or discard features that will become liabilities, such as rotting flooring. 

Incorporate Original Design Elements 

Once you decide which elements to keep, you can have fun incorporating them into the renovation. Experienced general contracting professionals are skilled at mixing old and new interior design elements. For example, a contractor can replace wooden kitchen cabinets with sleek, contemporary cabinets that complement the original design.

Updated light fixtures can add a modern touch to a traditional room. Let’s say you’d like to retain most of the vintage elements in the living room. A fresh coat of paint or modern track can bring the room into the 21st century without clashing with original features. 

Update Kitchen and Bathrooms

Your old-fashioned kitchen and bathrooms will likely need 21st-century updates. Over the decades, appliances, plumbing, electrical requirements, and lifestyles have changed. For example, you may want to add modern, built-in cabinets for storing appliances to free up kitchen counter space. Perhaps the refrigerator should be closer to the island for easier prepping. You can stay faithful to the original style by keeping key pieces, such as a farmhouse sink or brass knobs.  

It is possible to update a bathroom while keeping its original charm. A retro bathroom often needs modern features, such as an exhaust fan, to help prevent mold. You may have to replace electric outlets to satisfy code requirements. If that quaint, original pedestal sink is beyond repair, replace it with a newer, similar model. Brand-new plumbing fixtures can mimic the old style but improve functionality.  

Add Personality and Character

Remember to get creative with a few unique pieces when mixing old and new interior design elements. Don’t be afraid of adding a quirky element or accent piece. It could be a paint color on a closet door or an art deco mirror frame. A playful element or two will add a contemporary vibe to the original formal design. 

If you plan to renovate your vintage investment property, you can depend on RH Blanchard. With more than a decade of Boston-area general contracting experience, we understand the importance of mixing old and new design ideas. To request a free quote, get in touch today.

Read More

How to Develop a Timeline for Your Next Design-Build Project

August 8th, 2023 |

Whether planning a bathroom remodel or building an entire home, developing a timeline of construction project phases is important. The building project timeline ensures that the design-build provider stays on schedule and budget from design to construction. 

Pre-Planning and Research

Before meeting with contractors, allow at least one to four weeks for pre-planning and research. This phase lets you develop your project’s vision, scope, and budget. Collect images of favorite places and find common elements that you like. For example, do they all have similar flooring or finishes? These images will help you communicate your vision during the project. 

Consultation With General Contractor

During your first meeting with the general contractor and design team, you will share your vision for the project. This meeting sets the groundwork and gets everyone on the same page. The contractor will explain the design-build process and help you set a budget.  

Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on your project. For example, your general contractor can advise you on alternatives to high-end materials. You don’t want to run out of funds halfway through construction. 

Pre-Construction Phase

Pre-construction planning typically lasts three to eight months, depending on the complexity of the project. This phase includes a site analysis and review of zoning and permit requirements. The general contracting team may meet with you to discuss materials, landscaping, parking, and other details. Now is the time to address potential problems that could cause delays in the future.  

Project Design

During the design phase, you and the design team will review your collected images and discuss styles and materials. Of course, the design must fall within the project budget. This stage of the building project timeline can last from two to six months. Now is the time to review blueprints and other construction documents and make any necessary changes. Before construction begins, the general contractor will review the final documents and budget with you. 


All of those meetings and consultations are finally paying off. The construction team now arrives at the site, and the work begins!  Depending on the project, construction can take several months to a year. Ensure you allow extra time for custom-constructed items and materials shipped from overseas.  

Extra Time for the Unexpected  

Even the most carefully developed plans can hit a snag. When planning a building project timeline, expecting the unexpected is always a good idea. Include “buffer time” for problems that may arise, such as severe weather or shipping issues. Add at least two extra months to your timeline for construction project delays. 


This three- to six-week phase consists of a final walkthrough with the design-build team. You will receive documentation and have an opportunity to address any issues. After an inspector issues a certificate of occupancy, the project is complete. 

If you’re a Boston-area investment property owner, you need an experienced design-build team for your next construction project. Contact RH Blanchard and get a free quote from our general contracting professionals.

Read More

Should You Remodel Your Attic Space?

July 12th, 2023 |

If you want to add more room to your home or investment property, remember to look at your attic! An attic space remodel makes use of existing space in your home. Depending on the intended use and condition of the attic, there are a few considerations and tips to keep in mind.

More Space Without Increasing Square Footage

Maybe the kids need a playroom, or you’ve always wanted a craft studio. Whether it’s an office or a guest bedroom, you can build up instead of out by remodeling your attic. 

An attic space remodel is a great way to add living space without the expense of adding square footage. For example, when you remodel an attic, you already have the foundation and an enclosed space. 

Permits and Codes 

The first task is to learn about local building codes and permit requirements. You will likely need a permit if your remodel involves structural changes, electrical wiring, or ventilation. 

Your attic space remodel will have to comply with building code requirements, such as  

  • Floor space
  • Ceiling height
  • Access
  • Emergency exits

For example, you may have to install a full staircase to provide proper access or add a window as an emergency exit. 

Framing and Foundation 

Ensure your home’s framing and foundation can carry the added load of your converted attic. Your best bet is to hire an experienced contractor to inspect your attic. A local contractor can also advise you on code and permit requirements. 

Heating and Cooling

An attic is typically hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than the rest of the house. Cooling this space will put an additional load on your HVAC system. A contractor can tell you if your attic will need additional ductwork and ventilation. 

You may need additional insulation in your attic to keep the space warm in colder months. Foam insulation between floor joists can help regulate temperature and improve energy efficiency. It can even prevent noise transfer from the attic to the rest of the house. 


Most attics do not have windows, so lighting is another consideration. Installing windows, however, can be a challenge in the irregular space of an attic. Skylights are an ideal solution when you have limited wall space. Depending on the structure of your roof, you may have to rely on electrical light fixtures. A general contracting professional can advise you on adding electrical lighting to your attic. 

Unique Spaces and Shapes 

Most attics contain sharp angles and irregular shapes, but don’t let that discourage you. During an attic remodel, you can use these features to create a fun, unique space. 

For example, try converting a tiny nook into a cozy reading corner. Turn a triangular space into built-in bookshelves. Add a short knee wall where the rafters meet the floor if you need vertical wall space. 

Does an attic space remodel sound like a good idea for your home? For over a decade, the general contracting team RH Blanchard has remodeled Boston-area properties. Get in touch today for a free quote.

Read More

7 Flooring Trends for 2023

July 10th, 2023 |

Are you considering new flooring for your home or investment property? Many options are available for every style and taste, from materials to color. To help you get started, we’ve listed popular flooring trends for 2023. 

Soft Neutral Tones

You’ll find a wide variety of materials in today’s flooring trends. 2023 is also the year of soft, neutral colors. Grey, beige, and other calming tones provide a versatile foundation for any style. Neutrals are a welcome trend because they work with most color schemes and interior designs. 


If you’re looking for moisture-resistant flooring that’s easy to clean, you may want to consider laminate. Made of fiberboard, decorative coating, and a protective layer, laminate won’t warp or swell if wet. It wipes clean with a damp cloth and is a great choice for kitchens and other areas prone to getting wet. With laminate flooring, you get the beauty of hardwood or parquet with much less maintenance.  

Wood-Effect Tiles

Another 2023 flooring trend is wood-effect tiles. Like laminate, tiles are durable and easy to keep clean. For example, wood-effect porcelain tiles can bring the warmth of oak flooring into your kitchen. Wood-look tiles are available in many styles, from parquet to washed-out driftwood. Porcelain is also suitable for underfloor heating systems, so you can keep your feet warm during winter.


Some floors go through a lot of wear and tear, whether it’s pets, kids, or just heavy foot traffic. Linoleum is a favorite for bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas that need frequent cleaning. The colors won’t fade because they go through the flooring. Made of natural materials, linoleum is porous, long-lasting, and retains heat. Care consists of mopping with a ph-neutral cleaner and applying acrylic sealer once a year.


Obtained from the bark of the cork tree, cork is a sustainable flooring trend. The bark grows back and can be harvested every nine years, making it a highly renewable resource. Cork floors keep feet warm and cushioned and provide a slip-resistant surface. Scratch- and stain-resistant, cork is a hypoallergenic and antimicrobial material. Simply clean with a damp mop.  


With its versatility and soft, warm colors, it’s unsurprising that limestone is one of the top flooring trends in 2023. Mineral deposit veins run through limestone, making each tile unique. Choose from a variety of finishes, tones, and tile sizes. For example, grey limestone is a good choice if you want to use a trending color. 


Patterned flooring adds depth and variety to a room, from parquet to randomly-sized tile. Available in wood or wood-look tile, parquet adds a classic vibe to a room. Parquet floors are usually arranged in a herringbone or chevron pattern. Randomly-sized tiles create a more informal pattern and are another 2023 flooring trend. 

When it’s time to install flooring, a general contracting professional is indispensable. The skilled and experienced team at RH Blanchard can help with your Boston-area flooring project. Contact us today for a free quote.

Read More

Hiring a Home Restoration Contractor: 7 Factors to Consider

June 30th, 2023 |

Whether it’s fire or flood, your investment property needs attention as soon as possible after a disaster. You want to repair existing damage and prevent future problems, such as mold. Before hiring a home restoration contractor, consider the following considerations. 

#1 Hire a Specialist for Your Type of Damage

Home restoration is a specialized field. Your general contractor may have done a stellar job with that kitchen remodel. However, you will need a contractor who knows unique situations such as flood or fire damage for home restoration. 

Home restoration may require structural repairs, engineering, and knowledge of specialized equipment. For example, water damage restoration is a complex process that includes drying the property and preventing mold growth. After a fire, a contractor must know how to repair smoke damage. 

#2 Look for a Contractor with Experience in Insurance Claim Repairs

Make sure your contractor has knowledge of and experience in insurance-related projects. You will likely work with your insurance provider after a fire or other disaster. A home restoration contractor will be familiar with the claims process and any requirements the insurance company may have. 

#3 Check Contractor Licensing

Before you hire a home restoration contractor, do your homework. Verify that they are currently licensed. In Massachusetts, for example, you can look up registered contractors online on the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation website.

#4 Confirm Contractor Insurance Coverage  

Make sure you see a copy of the contractor’s insurance policy. After you look at the paperwork, call the insurance provider for confirmation. Also, check the contractor’s worker’s compensation credentials. You don’t want to be liable for work worker injuries on your property.  

#5 Do What You Can to Mitigate Damages

After a fire or other disaster, you must act promptly to prevent further damage to your property and its contents.. Your insurance provider will require you to mitigate damages. Take steps to minimize damage as soon as possible, but only if you can do so safely. Examples of mitigation include

  • Shutting off water
  • Removing items from the home
  • Covering the roof with a tarp  

#6 Beware of Scammers After a Disaster

When a disaster causes extensive damage, scammers come out of the woodwork. They know homeowners often face a long wait for contractors to reach them, and they take advantage of this frustration. Be suspicious of people who call themselves home restoration contractors and pressure you to hire them. Also, avoid anyone who demands payment for the entire job upfront. 

#7 Read Contract Carefully and Keep a Copy 

Always make and keep a copy of the contract you and your home restoration contractor have signed. Before you sign, make sure you understand and agree with the terms. For example, a liquidated damages clause can make you liable for the entire price of the project if you cancel after a certain time. Also keep a copy of any warranty papers from the contractor.  

With more than 10 years of Boston-area general contracting experience, RH Blanchard can help you through your home restoration process. Call us today for a free consultation.

Read More

Your Complete Property Investment Remodel Checklist

June 28th, 2023 |

If you’ve decided to undertake a renovation real estate project for your investment property, you’ve taken an important step toward improving your property’s value. Before you start, you should be clear about your goals and do some planning to help ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Remodeling projects are exciting, but they have a lot of different tasks that you’ll need to keep track of. This blog post will provide an overview of what you need to do to get started and a checklist you can use to avoid overlooking any steps.

1. What is your budget?

Knowing the upper limit of what you want to spend can help you make better hiring and purchasing decisions. You should be prepared for unexpected expenses likely to crop up during the remodeling. When setting your budget, adding in an extra 20% is a good idea to cover unanticipated costs.

2. What is your timeframe?

Would you prefer to take more time to save money or spend more money to save time? Decide on a realistic timeframe that will meet your needs. Also, consider other commitments you might have when your attention will be needed elsewhere.

3. What are your priorities?

When you’re working within the limits of your budget and timeframe, you may find that you’re unable to do everything you envisioned. Sometimes, during the renovation process, you’ll need to make quick decisions about changes to your original plans. It will help if you decide in advance which aspects of the renovation are essential and which would be nice but can be let go if needed.

4. What will most improve the value of your property?

If you plan to sell your investment property, find out which improvements add the most value to properties in your area. Projects such as HVAC conversions, garage door replacements, and entry door replacements usually have a high return on investment.

If you own a rental property and plan to keep it, focus on the most in-demand improvements with tenants and will enable you to increase or maintain the rent. Kitchen and bathroom renovations, adding bedrooms, and adding laundry connections are examples of upgrades that are popular with renters.

5. Are there any aspects of the renovations that you can do yourself?

If you are handy and have the time, you may be able to save considerable money by doing some parts of the project yourself. Remember, though, that your ultimate goal is to improve the value of your investment property. For some tasks, it’s better to leave it to the professionals.

6. Who are you working with?

Finding the right general contractor is the key to having a successful real estate renovation. At R.H. Blanchard,  we have provided the greater Boston area with top renovation and property management services for more than a decade. We’re family-owned and committed to doing a great job that fits your budget. We’d be glad to talk with you. Contact us for more information and a quote.

Read More

6 Creative Ideas for Small Outdoor Spaces

May 17th, 2023 |

Whether it’s an apartment balcony or an enclosed courtyard, you can make the most of your small outdoor space. Colorful tiles, rustic pavers or a privacy wall are just some of the ways you can transform that tiny porch or patio. Read the following post to discover small outdoor space ideas.

#1 Enclosed or Open Porch

For relaxation, you can’t beat sitting on a porch. A screen-enclosed porch lets you enjoy the cool evening breeze without dealing with mosquitos. An open porch allows friendly conversation with neighbors.  

If your porch measures 8 feet by 10 feet, you have room for a table and chairs. Simple touches, such as colorful pillows or a blanket, can turn your small porch into an inviting space.  

#2 Balcony 

Located outside apartments or on upper floors, balconies usually measure only 2 or 3 feet wide. That leaves virtually no room for furnishings. You can still use creative touches to make the most of this tiny space. For example, add a pop of color with a tile floor or install French doors for an elegant access point.  

#3 Gallery 

Slightly larger than a balcony, a gallery measures 3 to 4 feet wide. Supported by columns, this outdoor space provides room for minimal furnishings. A sleek, modern chair, for example, adds style without crowding. A container plant, such as hydrangea or jasmine, can dress up a gallery with color and fragrance.  

#4 Patio 

An article about small outdoor space ideas wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the patio. Even the tiniest patio can look elegant and stylish with the help of textures, colors, and various materials.  

For example, flagstones create a rustic look, while a pergola provides shade. Consider installing a wooden wall for privacy. The cozy atmosphere is perfect for inviting a few friends for cocktails or just getting away from it all with a good book. 

#5 Rooftop Garden

Does your home have a flat roof? If it does, you can turn that space into an outdoor gathering place for dinner guests or your star-gazing oasis. A rooftop garden can include shrubs, small trees, raised beds, and ground covers. Preserve the open and airy feel by installing clear glass instead of a solid wall. Seating and a table invite outdoor dining or tranquil morning coffee.  

#6 Courtyard 

Depending on the shape of your home, you may be able to create a courtyard. For example, a horseshoe-shaped building provides space for a partially enclosed, roofless courtyard. Some courtyards are completely enclosed in the center of the home, although this style is often found in Europe. 

A courtyard provides the best of both worlds: the fresh air of the outdoors with the privacy and comfort of an interior room. A retractable awning creates a cooler, shaded space. Paver stones retain less heat and help maintain a comfortable temperature. If plants are in the courtyard, install a temporary roof for winter protection.

The general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard are here to help with your small Boston-area outdoor space ideas. Get in touch today for a free quote!

Read More