5 Ways To Control Rising Construction Costs

If you’re involved in the development and construction of commercial buildings in any capacity, then you’ve likely noticed a recent trend—it’s getting more expensive to build!

At BIT Construction Services, we work with architects and developers on commercial construction projects around Austin. Although it’s not possible to foresee every cost that can arise on a construction site, it is possible to control most of the costs with a little foresight and planning.

And these days, that’s more important than ever. Building materials like gypsum, lumber, and insulation are getting more expensive, although declining costs on other materials, including steel, copper, and brass are helping to offset higher prices. Property values are also going up, which can make land more expensive for developers who don’t already have a chosen site for their project.

So, then, how do we control rising construction costs? Here are five ways to keep those expenses down as much as possible.

1. Plan ahead. It’s much easier to stick to a budget if you factor in everything that might come up during the building process. Try to anticipate decisions that might have to be made down the road, and how you’ll handle them budget-wise.
2. Keep it simple. Everyone can appreciate a commercial building with a beautiful, innovative design. But does your building really need to have all of the very latest design elements in order for it to be functional? Unless you have an unlimited budget for your commercial development, it’s probably best to pick a floor plan and other design elements that will serve your purposes but be budget-friendly.
3. Pick good-value materials. Value isn’t just about getting the lowest-cost building materials and supplies. There are so many varieties of each thing on the market, from carpet and other flooring, to countertops, to windows, that you can easily find something that fits your needs and budget. Especially in commercial construction, durability is a big concern, so your best bet is to pick materials that will last the longest, and do so for the least amount of money.
4. Spend and save where you should. In some cases, spending a little more up front may actually save you money in the long run. This especially comes into play when considering whether to make use of energy-efficient or eco-friendly building materials. It might cost a little more to install energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, low-flow toilets, and more windows in your commercial building, but the expense you’ll likely save on energy bills down the road will probably help you break even.
5. Stick to your budget. A general contractor’s job is to make sure your commercial building meets all your needs. We’ll build to your specifications and adjust as need be, but only you know the budget you can handle. That being the case, it’s very important that you stick to that budget. If you allow yourself to waver on certain decisions, they will add up and before long, you’ll see construction costs skyrocketing.

It’s not cheap to build anything, especially a commercial building. However, by following some of these steps, we’ve been able to minimize costs on construction projects and can certainly help developers and architects to do the same.

If you have a commercial construction project in development, give BIT Construction Services a call. We’d be happy to talk to you about building for you.


If you’re a business owner or commercial developer, then you’re no doubt concerned with keeping your commercial buildings safe from electrical fires. After all, they are one of the leading causes of fires in all types of commercial buildings, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Even if an electrical fire doesn’t destroy a building, it is far more likely to ignite and cause property damage then fires from other causes.

At BIT Construction Services, we specialize in commercial construction around the Austin area. With our new commercial electrical division, we can ensure that your building is well equipped with all the infrastructure to prevent electrical fires.

It’s important to have a written electrical safety document for anyone who may be handling electrical equipment and wiring. It also ensures that employees stay safe if they come across a potentially dangerous situation. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety suggests addressing the following topics in a safety program:

• How to identify electrical hazards;
• What is considered a safe distance from exposed electrical conductors;
• Information about personal protective equipment for electrical safety;
• How to understand proper work practices in wet or damp locations containing electricity;
• The proper lockout/tag-out procedures for electrical equipment and systems;
• Safety requirements for electrical installations;
• How OSHA rules apply to the job and workplace and penalties for noncompliance.

You’ll also want to train employees to be aware of electricity in the air that can spark fires. Watch for signs of overloaded circuits or outlets, like frequently blown fuses or getting a shock when you touch appliances or equipment. Also, watch out for worn outlets and flickering lights. If you detect anything strange in your electrical system, unplug as much as you can and contact an expert to take a look at it.

It’s also worthwhile to evaluate your business’s electrical needs from time to time, to see if you are due for an upgraded system to handle new or more equipment. Ultimately, ongoing preparation and evaluation could save your building – and possibly even save lives.


As we begin doing more projects with our new commercial electrical division, we at BIT Construction Services have learned a few lessons about wiring a commercial building. It’s important information, whether you’re on a commercial construction crew, or are one of the architects or developers overseeing the project.

Although electrical wiring isn’t the most visible element of a commercial building, it’s one of the most important – after all, if it’s installed improperly, the building is at risk of catching fire. Faulty wiring could also lead to injury or death, so it’s crucial to know a few things going in to make sure your wiring is the best it can be. Consider these tips:

• Don’t be afraid to choose bigger circuit panels. In a case like electrical wires, it’s always better to have too much than not enough. It won’t cost that much more up front, and having a bigger circuit panel will allow you to use more appliances and electronics without the risk of blowing a fuse. Also, pick wiring that can handle high wattage. This is especially important in industrial or warehouse settings, where power tools and machinery may be used all the time.
• Think about placement of sockets and switches. In an office building, you’ll probably have a lot of people plugging in phones, computers, lamps, and other items. Make sure there are plenty of sockets near where desks and other furniture will be, so that it’s easy for people to plug in items without having to leave trailing cords where people can trip over them. Also, be sure light switches are easy to find and reach for anyone who may be turning on lights in the morning and turning them off in the evening.

Our expert commercial electricians can help you make all of these decisions while working on a project. And of course, we offer all general contracting services in Austin. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your next commercial project.


There are safety precautions that need to be taken in every aspect of commercial construction, but perhaps none more so than during electrical work.

Electricity is something we take for granted every day – and it’s easy to forget just how powerful it can be. At BIT Construction Services, our jobs around Austin often include electrical wiring work, and we believe it is very important to do this work as safely as possible.

Here are some of the tips we follow when doing electrical work during a construction project:
• Turn off the power: This may be the single most important tip. If the power is off, you minimize your risk of getting shocked while working on circuits.
• Test every circuit: Even if you think the power is off, use a non-contact voltage tester to make sure. That way you don’t touch anything that you’re not absolutely sure isn’t live.
• Don’t do a job you’re not comfortable with: If you think an electrical project is out of your expertise, don’t risk it. Find someone who understands that project better.
• Wear appropriate gear: Make sure you’re wearing safety glasses, gloves, a dust mask, and rubber-soled shoes before beginning an electrical project. Ear plugs will protect your hearing from loud drills and other tools. The more you can protect yourself from sparks and shocks, the better off you’ll be.
• Stay out of the way: When you’re turning breakers on or off, stand to the side and keep your face away from the panel, just in case of a flare.

Nearly any general contractor is going to work on electrical wiring at some point.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure everyone stays safe while doing work on electrical circuits.

What’s The Most Energy Efficient Commercial Door Option?

Energy efficiency is an increasing interest in the world of commercial construction. More businesses are interested in not only minimizing their environmental footprint, but in saving money on energy costs like heating and cooling.

At BIT Construction, we work with a variety of clients on general. We’ve found that more architects and developers are interested in adding eco-friendly elements to their commercial buildings as the trend grows and becomes easier to incorporate.

These days, going green is an intuitive process that flows through a whole building, from the choice of building materials down to the placement of windows and doors. In fact, the right windows and doors, placed in the right position inside a building, can cut energy costs by huge amounts.

Large, well-insulated windows can let in lots of natural light, and help keep a building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But doors are equally important. So the question is – what’s the most energy-efficient option for a commercial door?

Well, it turns out that a revolving door may be your best choice. An MIT study back in 2006 found that if everyone used a revolving door installed in a building, it would save about 1.5 percent of the energy required to heat and cool the building. It would also prevent the emission of about 14.6 tons of carbon dioxide.

It works because revolving doors minimize air flow in and out of a building. Ongoing foot traffic in and out of a building by way of a traditional door can cause 30,000 cubic feet of air to leak every minute – but a revolving door cuts down on the amount by keeping the level of air flow in and out more even.

The biggest trick is to get people to use a revolving door. If you give them a choice between that and a traditional door, many will choose the traditional option. If you’re serious about cutting back on energy costs, then, it might be worth it to consider only using a revolving door in your commercial building.

5 Essential Tools Every Commercial Contractor Should Use

Every building project varies, but some things are always the same on a construction site, whether it’s residential or commercial construction.

Like other general contractors, BIT Construction does a variety of projects, from banks, to churches, to restaurant and retail construction. There are a few tools of the trade that we make sure our crew members always have ready to go. No matter what each job demands of us, or how each project may vary, these basic essentials always come in handy on a construction site.

Here are 5 essential tools every commercial contractor should use:
1. Claw Hammer: It’s one of the simplest tools, used by construction professionals and every handyman working around the house. The claw hammer allows you to pound nails into wood with one side, and remove them with the other. It’s not the most high-tech of tools, but it’s a handy classic to have in your tool box.

2. Power Drill: At some point on a construction project, we’ll need to drill a hole, and a good power drill will get the job done, whether the hole is going into wood, sheet metal, brick, or any other material.

3. Philips and Flat Head Screwdrivers and Screws: Screws are an essential item for holding things together on a construction project, and we use them a lot in our work. We keep a variety of screwdrivers around, different sizes of both flat head and Philips head, and manual and power options to fit any screws we might use.

4. Saws: A construction project usually requires a variety of saws for cutting different building materials. Table saws and jigsaws are always present on a construction site, and will cut just about anything – but they’re hard to move around. A power circular saw is more portable, and some construction workers like to keep a manual hand saw in their toolbox.

5. Measures and levels: The last thing you want on a construction project is to finish everything, only to find out your building is crooked. Commercial contractors are careful to measure everything and double check to ensure materials are the right length and placed properly so as to be even and level. Accurate measurements save money, time – and frustration!

Commercial construction sites also require big equipment like bulldozers and cranes – but when it comes to what each contractor needs in his or her personal tool box or tool belt, these are just a few of the essentials.

Panel Discussion with the Associated Builders and Contractors in Austin

Recently the owner of BIT construction Services Inc participated in a panel discussion with the Associated Builders and Contractors in Austin to discuss being a Minority and Historically Underutilized business. ON the panel with Ms. Olvera were other notable Austinites well known in the commercial construction space. Hopeton Hay from UT Austin’s, Hopeton Hay Director, Office of HUB Development & Federal Small Business The University of Texas System; Brady Lenamon from FLINTCO LLC ; Cloteal Haynes of Haynes – Eaglin – Waters and Erik Larue of Hensel Phelps Construction. This thought provoking meeting was purposeful in bringing together success stories of how small business owners who are minority and diversity certified have positioned themselves to succeed and prove they can do subcontract work with the big boys in town.. Hensel Phelps and FLintco are two of the largest Central Texas General Contractors at this event, speaking of their commitment to working with small firms and their commitment to seeing these firms grow and do more work with their projects. Thank you to Associated Builders and Contractor’s for hosting this great event and to FLintco and Hensel Phelps; the University of Texas and City of Austin all for coming to this informative series to help smaller contractors get on top and stay on top. B.I.T Construction Services and Building Team Solutions have both been certified both at the City, state and federal level as a female, minority owned firm. Need help in getting certified or want to know more, go the City of Austins website.

Trends In Medical Office Construction

Commercial construction isn’t limited to the restaurants, stores, and malls you see around town. It also includes professional buildings, hospitals, and medical offices, which are often part of a suite of offices or shopping center.

Today, the medical office landscape is shifting from private, general practitioners, to bigger outpatient facilities capable of more procedures. Outpatient care accounts for about 60 percent of hospital revenue, and experts think that will grow another 20-30 percent in the next decade.

At BIT Construction, we keep an eye on changes in the construction industry, because we know that will affect the work we and other general contractors do.

One of the biggest trends in constructing these outpatient facilities and other medical offices, is that healthcare companies are looking for spaces that can easily be reconfigured to suit any changing needs they have. Modular building allows facilities to rework a floor plan to add more exam rooms, move around specialties and doctors’ offices, or increase storage capabilities.

There’s also more emphasis on efficiency, quality and performance as cost saving methods for healthcare companies. Many new facilities want patients to be able to check in at a kiosk and go straight to an exam room, to minimize time spent in the waiting room. Some facilities will give injections in another area, outside of exam rooms, to expedite the process of getting patients cared for in an efficient manner. But no companies want to sacrifice quality of care for the sake of saving time and money, so it’s a delicate balance.

Design is also a big consideration in today’s medical offices. Healthcare providers are looking for “affordable elegance,” which leaves design and construction teams looking for creative ways to build a structure. Tilt-up concrete construction, typically used in building big box stores, is one way to save a lot of money on the structural costs of a building. Modern, elegant finishes can then be added inside – like exposing the concrete in clever ways and adding natural wood touches.

In short, today’s medical office construction is aimed at providing patients with a comfortable, inviting environment, an efficient experience at the facility – all at the lowest cost possible. If you’re a medical office developer looking to incorporate some of these trends, contact BIT Construction today – we’ll be happy to work with you on your project.

When Trying To Find A Job Don’t Overlook Time Management

No matter how long you've been trying to find a job, odds are that there's pressure on you to apply nonstop. However, many experts believe if you truly put 40 hours a week into the search itself, you may not find more success than you would with a less time-consuming, more manageable workload. Hitting the sweet spot between free time and job hunting is likely one of the best ways for you to improve your chances.

Don't sweat it all the time
US News and World Report found that the amount of time that should be spent in a job search differs from field to field. Millennials and those just starting out in a new industry will likely find that networking, resumes and online applications will take up a lot of their online search time. However, those searchers looking for specialized roles simply may not be able to find enough positions to apply to. While they're better off working with staffing services companies, which will be able to find them specific avenues in their industries in which they can likely find better results, there's no need for them to furiously search for ways to push their searches into a full 40 per week.

Even if you're able to spend 40 hours on a job search, you should occasionally review how that search is going. If you're getting through to interviews and even potential job offers, that's fantastic. But if you're not, the amount of time you're searching might hurt you, not help you. If you're applying to too many jobs in a scattershot approach, trying to land anything you might have a remote chance for; you might be extending yourself too much. Instead, you may want to take some time to focus on jobs that are more directly up your alley. If you're applying for the sake of applying, you might not see the results you're hoping for.

Use time management tools
If you're struggling to make time work for you, it might be a good idea to break big concepts down into smaller chunks. If you're concerned about time management but want to have clear records of the improvements you see every day, simply taking the time to organize your search in a new way can help you greatly.

Some time management tools recommended by the news source can be found both online and in real life. When it comes to keeping track of your networking appointments, interviews and application deadlines, using online calendars like those found in Outlook or Google Apps can be a major time saver. They can send automatic email reminders directly to your email address or mobile device.

These applications also both offer spreadsheet resources, which can be perfect when you need to keep track of the stages of different applications. A quick and easy spreadsheet can allow you to note where you've applied, who called back and how far into the hiring process you can climb. When it comes to real-world tools, you can often find books that work as combinations for networking and time-tracking. Combination notepads and phone books are a good way to keep all of your information in one place, especially useful if you're often on the go without power or Wi-Fi.

No matter what, if you feel drained or that your efforts aren't reaching their full potential, simply take a break. Going for a walk can jog your memory and a breath of fresh air may help relieve any stress you might feel. Visiting friends is another option, as they can help you rejuvenate your long-term hiring efforts greatly.

Project with VUAGHN Group out of College Station

BIT CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING TEAM SOLUTIONS end up servicing clients on the same building.. it wasn’t long ago it seems that BIT CONSTRCUTION worked as a sub contractor for the BECK GROUP out of Austin texas, in 2010-2012 we worked diligently on the Norman Hackerman Project in Austin. Now as it would come full cuircle our sister company Building Team Soluitions is now working on a new interior build out phase staffing electricians for the current remodel/finish out. This project was a great success for BIT construction and was one of the first projects we perfomed with the BECK GROUP our of Austin. We have sense done more than half a dozen projects with them and have been increasingly impressed and excite about working with Becks key team members. As a small minority firm – there are many times where mentoring from larger GC’s can play an instrumental role in your company’s growth and development. With BIT Construction that mentoring came from a key Beck Manger, Matt Pickens, who in 2010 really took BIT construction under his wing and really made a point to help us understand the large scope project contract, implementation and execution. Since then Matt has become a roel model and confident to our management team and we are excited to call The Beck Group, once of out favorite clients of all time.

Project with VUAGHN Group out of College Station

BIT Construction just completed a project with VUAGHN group out of College Station – the project at St Joes Hospital was a unique adventure, not just because it was our first project with Vaughn, but because it had elements new to us. Luckliy we had a top notch team with Vaughn that included Forrest Couch of Vaughn who always had a way of jumping into the fray to make sure the impossible always become seamless and doable. Its this time of key management and leadership from a large General COntraor that every subs desires, but you don’t always get. We were very pleased with our experience and look forward to doing more work with Vuaghns A team in College Station very soon!

Austins Dress for Success

BTS and BIT construction owner Britanie Olvera gathered up her female friends and along with Austin APD police Lt Gena Curtis and her contacts rallied around a local Austin non profit. This event was appropriately named "Handbags and Happy Hour". Since its mission was to bring Austin women to the table around a much worthy cause.. no not happy hour, and as much as we love hanbags, the cause had a greater purpose:

Austin's Dress for Success. The event was co-sponsored by Gena and Britanie and almost 30 woman gathered at Abels North. Collecting nice, gently worn or new purses for women who go to Dress for Success for help. Dress for Succes helps over 2000 women a year here in our hometown of Austin Texas. Just to understand and see what they do (its way more than just dressing women for interviews for a job). We are talking life changing, skills, resume help, job placement, mentoring and more.... and yes a nice newer suit or professional attire to go to that job interview in.

Also a BIG thank you to Austins CFC Cops for Charities foundation here in Austin for Thursday monetary donation to Dress for Success. CFC helps our community and the people they protect and serve. Thank you CFC for stepping up as always.

We also thank Abels North Austin for donating their fabulous library room for our event. They did an absolute great job and the food was awesome thanks Abels North.

To learn more about Dress for success click here.

America's Best Hipster Neighborhoods

Our office is officially in the HIP ZONE of East Austin!!

East Austin has unseated South Congress and Travis Heights as Austin's newest hipster home base, according to It not only touts some of the most highly rated Mexican eateries in the country but also coffee shops, a farmers market, and food trucks like the East Side King parked outside of bars and music venues every night.


Basic Tips of Kitchen Remodeling For Your Investment Property

Kitchen remodeling is one of the most noticeable changes that someone can make to their home. Due to the high volume of traffic that occurs in a kitchen, any changes are very likely to be observed and critiqued. The higher scale quality of a remodel will directly effect the type of feedback your receive on the transformation. Unfortunately, not all projects are successful. Here are three basic tips to help avoid any problems in you kitchen remodel, and maximize the positive benefits of the project.

Design and Functionality can Coexist
Kitchen remodeling often entails bringing in new furniture and appliances. Whether you are installing a new refrigerator or dishwasher, or are bringing in a new kitchen table for the room, it is important to remember that these pieces of equipment can be both highly functional as well as fit the scheme of the design that you desire. Many people believe that you have to choose between the effectiveness of the product and the style or fashion aspect. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Through simple research you should be able to find stylish appliances and furniture that are also very stylish.

Flexibility Matters
Budgets are often discussed as an important factor to think about for any project in your home. Kitchen remodeling is no different. However, while having a solid budget is valuable, in this type of remodel it is important to remain flexible. It is inevitable that surprises will pop up when you least expect it. Some of these surprises can be easily solved, but others might require you to spend more than your projected budget. Depending on the situation you are in, it is important to evaluate all of the options that you have when these types of issues arise, but don’t be afraid to flexible in these circumstances!

Open-Minded Contractor
The most important person in a kitchen remodeling project is the contractor that you hire to help accomplish the task. When pursuing a contractor, it is important to find someone who is open-minded and willing to listen to your suggestions. After all, you are the one who will be selling this investment property, not your contractor. Be sure that whomever you hire is willing to listen to your ideas throughout the entire project, and not just your desires at the beginning.

Kitchen remodeling is one of the best ways to improve the value of your home. When working on this type of project, be sure to follow these three tips in order to get the most out of your kitchen.

If you are interested in learning more about remodeling your investment property kitchen, give BIT Services a call at 512.258.5336.

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Solomon Perry of 3-D Illusion Art

Our BIT Construction office now has a pop and flare with a bit of “heaven” on our ceiling now thanks to Solomon Perry of 3-D Illusion Art. Solomon, named after king Solomon of the bible, is definitely the king of mastering 3d mural painting. This very talented Austin artist (who does more than paint, he is a multi talented artist and Emmy winner) has done artistry work for the likes of Mariah Carey, spike Lee, and more, as well as wad named the Austin Art Board winner of 2014. Click here to learn more about this artist or to hire him to create magical murals or artistry for your walls (or in our case ceiling) … He also does other various forms of artistic multi-mediums as well.

We love our new ceilings Solomon, thank you!!

Contact Solomon Perry

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The Three R’s: Remodeling, Renovation, and Restoration

The expressions remodeling, renovation, and restoration can often get misinterpreted as one another. While they may be very similar in the sense that they are all providing changes to your home, there are definitely some major differences between the three terms. Here is a look at the differences between remodeling, renovation, and restoration, and what exactly each of these types of projects can do!

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word remodel as: “to change the structure, shape, or appearance of something”. Remodeling, in general, involves drastic changes to a room, or multiple rooms, in a home. The most frequently discussed types of remodels that happen in a home are kitchen remodels or bathroom remodels. However, they do not have to be limited to these two types of projects. Remodels can involve bedrooms, office spaces, basements, or any other room inside of the home. The main characteristics of home remodels are that they change the appearance or function of a room. Rather than fixing things up in a room, remodels involve making major changes in the room in order to switch the theme or purpose of said room.

Unlike remodeling, home renovation does not involve as large of changes to a room. The official definition of the word renovate is “to make changes and repairs” to a room. Renovating comes in handy the most when there are issues that occur somewhere in the home. Rather than removing specific pieces of the area and changing the focus of the room, renovation is mainly centered on trying to fix those problems that are taking place. In order to more fully understand the difference between these first two phrases, let’s take a look at the difference between a kitchen remodel and kitchen renovation. A kitchen remodel would entail making drastic changes. For example, this could involve anything from removing walls to expand the room size to tearing down the cabinetry in order to move the area where your dishwasher was. Restoration, on the other hand, is much more simple than that. This would involve activities such as replacing your old dishwasher with a new one, buying and installing new cabinets, or fixing any problems that you may having in the kitchen. Overall, remodeling projects are much larger than renovation projects.

Between the three of these terms, the two that are the most similar are renovation and restoration. As is the same as renovation, home restoration is generally a much smaller type of project than home remodeling. Additionally, home restoration is very comparable to renovation in how both of these types of projects have to do with fixing things and making them useful again. In fact, the definition of restore is pretty consistent to the definition above of renovation. Merriam-Webster defines restore as, “to return to an earlier or original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.” As you can see, both renovation and restoration have to do with repairing things. However, unlike renovation, restoration focuses on repairing things back to the way that they originally were. For example, renovating the cabinetry in your kitchen can mean anything from installing new ones to painting the current ones that you have a different color. Restoring these cabinets means that you are going to fix and repair them in order to bring them back to how they originally were.

Remodeling, Renovation, and Restoration all have their own meanings and individuality. No longer will you have to be confused on the differences and which one that you want to pursue! Need help with a remodeling, renovation, or restoration project? Give the pros at BIT Construction a call today!

Top Projects For Your Investment Property Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Investment property renovation and remodeling can be a tricky subject regardless of how much or how little you want to improve the property. Fortunately, contractors that specialize in specific areas of expertise are available to hire through BIT Construction. This is a great way to reduce the risk of any unforeseen incidents. Bathroom remodeling can often be the most difficult area of the house to remodel because of all of the factors that go into the room. This makes it increasingly important to hire a contractor who is equipped to handle the situation. Here is a look at a few types of projects in which it would be especially smart to hire a BIT Construction contractor!

Replacing Walls
When working on a project in the bathroom, the biggest downside is the excess moisture throughout the room. For walls specifically, this may lead to the necessity of installing new drywall. Additionally, further problems such as bad studs and joists may pop up as well. BIT Construction contractors know specifically how to handle each of these situations in the most efficient manner.

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Shower Installation
One popular bathroom remodel project is the installation of a new shower. Because of the importance of a shower in the bathroom, avoiding all mistakes is crucial. There are several different steps to a shower installation project including installing lining, any walls or doors and laying down the tile. Unless you have experience in this type of project, hiring a BIT Construction contractor is essential.

Flooring Installation
Much like bathroom walls, bathroom flooring is very susceptible to moisture in the room. Because of this, certain types of flooring options should be eliminated from the beginning. BIT Construction contractors can help you to make an educated decision on which type of flooring would be best for your bathroom, as well as effectively completing the installation.

In general, hiring a BIT Construction contractor for any kind project in your investment property is a great idea. However, when dealing specifically with a bathroom renovation, you should specifically aim at hiring a BIT Construction contractor.

10 Steps Of An Investment Property Remodel

If you’ve ever remodeled an investment property home before you know it’s a big task and often times unexpected situations can occur. Knowing what to expect will allow you to be better prepared for what’s to come. Here are ten steps for your next remodeling project:

1. Define the scope of work in advance; by planning ahead you will leave less room for error.
2. Hire the proper professionals at BIT Construction to get the job done in a timely manner.
3. Your architect or designer develops detailed blue prints used for project approvals and contract ids.
4. Use your plans to request bids and interview contractors.
5. Compare bids and select your contractor (BIT Construction). You may need to revise plans per contractor recommendations and cost containment.
6. Submit the detailed plans to your local city-planning department for approvals and permits.
7. Prepare yourself for the demo and let the construction begin!
8. Choose the type of finishes. Always be one step ahead so the hired professionals are not waiting on you to move forward with the project.
9. Throughout the entire remodeling process, be in constant communication with your contractor. This is critical to any successful project!
10. Finally the remodeling has been completed!

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Now that you’re aware of the remodeling process and what it entails it will seem less daunting. Be prepared to distribute a good portion of your time to this project, even though you’ve hired a team of professionals to oversee it they will still need your input. If you’re interested in remodeling your investment property please contact us today!

What room in your home are you most likely to remodel first?

Vessel Sinks: What To Consider For Your Investment Property

There has been a fairly new bathroom trend happening all around the world in the last couple of years: the vessel sink. While these sinks can be a great design element to many kinds of bathrooms, vessel sinks are fundamentally different from a traditional sink. While these differences might seem small they can be crucial to the function of a bathroom. Here are a few things to take into consideration before purchasing a vessel sink.

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1. Vessel sinks do not fit into standard vanity tops
The largest fundamental difference between a vessel sink vanity top and a standard sink vanity top is that a vessel sink is installed on top of the vanity. This is unlike most sinks where they are installed either in the vanity or sometimes under.

Most standard sink vanity cutouts are designed to fit a wide variety of sink styles and brands, making it easy to switch out sinks when needed. Because vessel sinks sit on top of the vanity, you will be required to purchase a vanity without a sink cutout.

2. DIY Installation
On the upside, Vessel sinks are one of the easiest sinks to install because they require no caulking and are held in place by both the drain pipe and their own weight. Basic tools are required for installation including plumbers putty and Teflon tape.

3. Vessel Faucets
Vessel sinks require a special kind of faucet. Because they sit on the vanity top, they require a tall faucet. Not all vessel sinks are the same size so it is best to shop for the faucet after you have picked out a sink. This way you will know that the faucet is tall enough to comfortably use the sink.

4. Shorter Vanities are Better
This is a common problem many run into when it comes to switching to a vessel sink. Because vessel sinks are on top of the vanity, it is important to take that extra height into consideration. Often times, the vessel sink will be too high up to comfortably use.

5. More space
Because vessel sinks sit on top, you will find that there is a whole lot more space underneath or inside the vanity. Not only does the vessel sink give more room where a standard sink would sit, vessel sinks plumbing is also reduced giving even more room to build shelves or store more bathroom supplies and accessories.

Give the pros at BIT Construction a call today to discuss creative sink features for your investment property!

The Dim Future of Incandescent Lighting

The light bulbs we’ve used for more than a century are on their way out – and that leaves many people scratching their heads and wondering about the pros and cons of energy-efficient bulbs that are now mandated by law.

What Happened to Regular Light Bulbs?
In 2007, President George W. Bush signed a federal bill that was written to pull the plug on traditional bulbs that squander energy. In 2012 and 2013, 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs started to disappear from store shelves – and as of January 1, 2014, 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs are on the chopping block.

We’re left with three general options: energy-efficient incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The good news? There are more pros than cons.

Pros and Cons of New Energy-Efficient Bulbs
While saving cash on your energy bill each month is a clear benefit of making the switch, there’s more to this big light bulb change than meets the eye.

Pros: Energy-efficient light bulbs often last longer than traditional incandescent lights. The Environmental Protection Agency says that CFLs use only a quarter of the energy an incandescent bulb uses; just one bulb can stop hundreds of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. The average LED bulb can prevent around a half-ton of those emissions from escaping into the atmosphere.

LEDs can last as long as 100,000 hours, and improvements are constantly being made. You can choose brightness and color temperature for a custom lighting experience using LED bulbs.

The Department of Energy says that 20 percent of the average electric bill is attributable to lighting, and LEDs dramatically reduce that – in most cases, lighting with LEDs pares that figure down to a mere 5 percent.

Cons: CFLs contain between 4 and 5 mg of mercury. Remember the old thermometers? If a CFL breaks, you have a hazardous waste on your hands that you can’t touch or dispose of in your everyday trashcan.

Many CFLs require time to warm up before they produce light at their full potential. LEDs are pricey; you might pay between $10 and $40 for a quality LED light. You can still purchase incandescent bulbs in normal wattages, but that’s only until supplies run out; they aren’t being manufactured anymore. You’ll still be able to buy 43-watt incandescent, too, so if you’re not ready to make the switch, you don’t have to. Because the fixtures and sockets are still the same, you can upgrade to energy-efficient lighting in your investment property.

Kitchens With Wood Floors… And Your Real Estate Investment

Many buyers lean toward homes that feature living spaces, dining areas and kitchens with wood floors because they’re versatile, attractive and easy to clean. If your investment property doesn’t have wood flooring, having it installed might be a worthwhile effort.

Should Your Investment Property Kitchen Have a Wood Floor?
Kitchens are naturally high-traffic areas in most homes, and that means the flooring is at risk for dents, dings, scratches and everyday wear-and-tear. Some woods, such as oak, cherry and maple, are harder and stronger. Pine dents easily, so be careful choosing it; unless you’re going for a distressed look or your kitchen isn’t the scene of too many accidents (and doesn’t receive a lot of traffic from little feet and paws), it might not be the right floor material for your kitchen.

Proper Care of Kitchens with Wood Floors
Depending on the type of finish you choose, you’ll have a different care and maintenance plan for your kitchen’s wood floor. Generally, it’s always a good bet to place rugs in high-traffic areas and around sinks and appliances to protect the wood from scuffs and spills. If a spill does occur, wipe it up immediately; no matter what kind of finish you have on your floor; it can seep into the wood and cause permanent staining.

Other Kitchen Flooring Options
While kitchens with wood floors are extremely popular, you don’t have to limit yourself to what everyone else is doing. Some interior designers are recommending cork, bamboo, brick and even rubber.

When it comes to remodeling any room in an investment property it’s critical to always establish a plan of action, budget and a group of professionals at BIT Construction before starting demolition. This will help to streamline the workflow and help to get the project completed in a timely manner.

ABIA Austin Bergstrom International Airport Project

We are on the ABIA Austin Bergstrom international airport project working with the city of Austin, modification being made to make a gate accessible to both regular and international flights.

New walls, drywall, trim, and eventually custom fabricated stainless benches for the security area.

Proud to be a City of Austin certified contractor working on our cities best buildings.

B.I.T construction services is able to put together the manpower needed for tight security, highly visible projects where OSHA trained employees who are background cleared are needed. Because we do things just a little BIT better...

Investors Kitchen Remodel: The Real Timetable For Your Investment Property

Investors remodeling your kitchen, there are several things that you will need to keep track of such as budget, customization, and the project timetable. While all three are equally important, it is vital that you develop a strong sense of how long the project is really going to take before you begin. Here is a look at the actual timetable of a kitchen remodel.

Meet With BIT Construction To Develop Scope of Work
This beginning stage usually takes one to two weeks, but can also come to fruition in as little as a few days. This time mainly consists of scheduling an appointment and developing the main concepts of what you want done, or in many cases our investors give us their budget and we put it all together for them, from design to build.

Finalize Project Details, Budget, and Timeline
Over the next few days or few weeks (depending on your concept and decision making speed), you will continue to meet with BIT Construction in order to finalize the exact project details. You will also determine a hard budget and timeline for the project.

Sign Contract
Singing the contract will generally come at the end of the previous stage once the project details, budget, and timeline are finalized.

Select, Order, and Delivery of Materials
After the contract is signed, you and BIT Construction will determine which materials will need to be purchased for installation. The selection, ordering, and delivery of these materials will usually take 1 week if we go with stock item ordering, customization can take a longer lead time (2-6 weeks). Material delivery will be coordinated with construction demo and prep schedule accordingly. (Are we moving plumbing – electrical or HVAC, if so the remodel takes a bit longer)

Apply for and Receive Permits
In order for BIT Construction to accomplish certain tasks, we need applicable permits. The process of applying and receiving permits can take anywhere from three weeks to two months. However, these applications can be applied for once the contract is signed. IN the Austin area, we are at the whim and ever-changing City of Austin permit office, which is still backlogged and busy. SO be prepared for a wait time, this is where pre planning is important and keeping things simple will decrease down time or days lost. For all investors your property only makes money when its leased or resold. So to minimize this, BIT Construction will work with you to keep the ball rolling.

Deconstruction of Original Kitchen
After applications have been received, the physical process of the remodel can begin. Taking down the previous kitchen usually takes 1-2 days, depending on size, scope and again other factors (weather, access to dumpster, ease of demo inspection by city etc.

Finish/Install New Materials
Once the original kitchen is deconstructed, the installation and finish of new materials can begin. This process generally can be as short as 1 week or as long at 3 depending on design and how many subs are needed (electrical, plumbing, HVAC, tile etc), but can be shorter/longer depending on how small or large the project is.

This real timetable of a kitchen remodel might involve a little more than you may have originally planned for, but with the help of this you will be able to more fully understand the process before you begin.

Give the pros at BIT Construction a call today to discuss the kitchen remodel for your investment property!

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Investors Four Step Plan to Remodeling Your Bathroom For Your Real Estate Investment

An Investors, Bathroom remodel planning can quite frequently become an overwhelming experience. However, if a proper plan is set up, then the process of remodeling your bathroom becomes much more pleasant and easier to get accomplished. There are four main keys to a solid bathroom remodel plan. Install these four keys into your remodel plan and your new bathroom will be created with much less stress and far more success!

1. Find Inspiration
The first part of a proper bathroom remodel plan comes with deciding what you actually want your investment property bathroom to look like. In order for your remodel to be exactly what you want it to be, you need to know everything that needs to be done. This stems much further than just the colors and lighting. In this step you must decide everything from a floor tiles to specific showerheads. Get some inspiration Houzz. **REMEMBER as an Investment, the property needs to not lean too heavily in one direction style, because doing so will limit your prospects. For instance if you go totally urban modern, someone might not like the industrial feel.

2. Create a Budget
Nobody likes to talk about budgets, however, they are a reality. “Finding Inspiration” is not going to be worth anything if it is unobtainable. By creating a budget, you will know how much money you are going to allocate to each aspect of the remodel. Doing this will allow you to determine which parts of the bathroom are the most important and should be invested in the most, and which segments don’t need to have as much money put into them.

3. Develop a Strategy
This step may be the most important step of them all. Here is where you are going to combine your inspiration and your budget in order to determine what and from where all of the features need to be purchased. This step aligns your wants, needs, and budget all into one.

4. Execute
The last step of remodeling your bathroom will come in execution. Take all of the executive decisions that you made in step three and act on them! This is where you physically purchase items, set up installation times, and get the ball rolling for the entire remodel.

Bathroom remodels do not have to be stressful! Follow this simple four-step plan and your new bathroom will come easier than ever. When it comes to remodeling any room in an investment property it’s critical to always establish a plan of action, budget and a group of professionals at BIT Construction before starting demolition. This will help to streamline the workflow and help to get the project completed in a timely manner.

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The Keys to Budgeting For A Kitchen Remodel For Your Investment Property

A kitchen remodel sounds wonderful. Doesn’t it? Unfortunately, not every kitchen remodel is equal. However, with a properly executed budget, you can maximize your remodel to turn your average kitchen to the kitchen of anyones dreams.

1. Initial Cost
Set a hard line estimate of how much you are willing to spend. How much are you willing to spend, and how much can you spend? Once you set this number, that is it. No deviating!

2. Allocate Costs
Once your initial cost is set, determine how much of the budget is going to be spent on certain tasks. Estimate the cost that it is going to take to complete these specific assignments and assign that number to each one. Don’t forget to factor in the cost for labor!

3. Expect the Unexpected
There are many unexpected costs that can arise while remodeling a kitchen. Be sure to set aside 10-20% of your budget beforehand in case of emergency.

4. Prioritize
Because of these unexpected costs that may arise, you need to make sure that you make a ranking of importance for all of the tasks to be done. This way if you have any of those unpredictable costs, then you can at least accomplish the most important kitchen wants.

5. Do What You Can
A great way to save costs on the remodel is by doing some of the small things that you have the ability to, such as removing the old cabinets.

6. Avoid Temptations
Yes, you are going to be tempted to purchase extras that you did not anticipate when you started. Don’t do it! Remember that you have a budget and a vision for that budget, and your remodel is going to look just as good without these temptations.

7. Enjoy!
This one is pretty self-explanatory!

Kitchen remodels can be a great experience as long as a solid budget is created and enforced. Stick to this plan and you will love the new kitchen!

Give the pros at BIT Construction a call today to discuss the kitchen remodel for your investment property!

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Give Your Investment Property A Great Bathroom With Tile Design

One of the most frequently visited rooms in one’s house is the bathroom. As odd as it may seem, many people remember an entire house based solely on the bathroom. Because of this, creating a bathroom that looks good is essential for making your investment property as luxurious as possible. One key way of establishing a good look and feel to your bathroom is through the tile design inside of the room.

Keep Floors and Walls Equal
Not all bathrooms have tiles on both the floors and walls, but doing so is one way to make your investment property bathroom seem very elegant. In particular, if you have the same tiles on both the floor and walls in the bathroom, then the feel of the room is much more sophisticated. The best types of tiles for this style are larger tiles that are all of the same size. If you do not want as much of a fancy feel, this style can still be utilized; just choose smaller tiles and it will bring a more laid-back feel!

Vertical Tiles
Vertical tiles on the walls are a great technique that is used to make your investment property bathroom seem larger than it may actually be. Not only will these tiles add a larger feeling of increased height in the room, but they can also make the room feel as if has more space than it really does. One specific way to do this is by using equally sized tiles of different colors.

Feature the Shower
One other way to create a unique spin on your investment property bathroom is by using different tiles for your shower. By keeping the floor and wall tiles the same, but using a different tile design for the shower, then the shower will become a focal point of the room. It is always beneficial having a central wall in the bathroom because it can draw attention quickly and leave a good impression on the room.

Bathroom tile designs come in a wide variety with several different options to choose from. If your investor property needs upgraded and higher end details added to improve the value and give you a great ROI on your real estate investment, give the pros at BIT Construction a call where residential rehab, upgrades and investor construction is our forte!

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BIT Construction Giving You Flip Value For Pennies

How to invest if with the right upgrades to give your property more value. Its the hardest decision sometimes to make. Where do we put thw money when upgrading a house. Older homes often need full overhauls to be aestitically pleasing in today's market and more important bring you the most value in terms of profit at closing.

We know kitchens and bathes are key value add areas and usually are must haves to bring in thr comps needed on a property. Here is an example of how you can update a bathtub without redoing all the tile.

We chose to update the tile surrounding a bench seat. Later we will show you how to use matching glass tile as a mirror frame to accent and pull the bathroom design together.

Simple candles in the are of a soaker tub, add a visual element where now the potential buyer sees themselves relaxing in this spa like bathroom.

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3 Must-Have Closet Design Features For Your Investment Property

A walk-in closet can be so much more than just a space for stashing clothing, but most of us only see it that way. Even if you’re not ready to hire a professional closet designer, there are three pieces to the closet puzzle that you just can’t live without.

Bench Seating
Whether you choose a vintage bench or a sleek, modern style, having a bench inside the closet is a must. It adds to the overall ambience while providing the perfect place to reflect on wardrobe choices (or to do battle with favorite shoes).

Stand-Alone Counter Space
An island in the center of the closet or a pull-out countertop can make all the difference in the world. It’s the ideal place for setting aside cuff links, jewelry or other accessories that will be used. Counter space also means there’s room for cupboards or shelves below, where you can keep shoes, scarves or even decorative items when the rest of your space is limited.

If stand-alone counter space will make the closet feel cramped and cluttered, think about adding an acrylic or glass table.

A Full-Length Mirror
Setting up mirrored walls in the walk-in closet can help maximize lighting and make it look bigger. As an alternative, a stand-alone full-length mirror in one corner or mounted (in a frame) on the back of the door can work as well.

Give the pros at BIT Construction a call today to discuss creative closet design features for your investment property!

Make Your Real Estate Investment Even Better With A Bathroom Renovation.

Remodeling an investment property bathroom will instantly boost the value of your investment property and refresh the existing outdated design. Our experts are sharing their list of top bathroom renovation ideas.

  • Update fixtures including light fixtures, sink faucets and towel racks for a modernized feel.
  • Establish a consistent theme for the bathroom to give it a cohesive feel.
  • Try utilizing tiles artistically to create unique designs that will instantly bring that dull bathroom alive.
  • Opt for more energy efficient appliances and fixtures; these last longer and are eco-friendly!
  • Always be mindful of how each decision will impact the budget.
  • Gather inspiration and ideas from a variety of sources including Pinterest and Houzz.
  • Most importantly, choose the right professionals to partner with like the pros at BIT Construction to help make your investment property amazing.

When it comes to remodeling any room in an investment property it’s critical to always establish a plan of action, budget and a group of professionals at BIT Construction before starting demolition. This will help to streamline the workflow and help to get the project completed in a timely manner.

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Final Clean of a Large Austin Project

BIT Construction was selected to do the Final Clean of a large Austin Phase I project for an undisclosed client, that we refer to as the ‘ fruit’ buildings. Seen here, exterior windows being cleaned using a spider boom from United Rentals of Austin. Phase 1 is just completing after 14 months and Phase II is underway. Austin’s construction market is in high gear

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Painting at Historic Camp Mabry – The Original Barracks

The Original Barracks buildings are now used as offices for daily Campy Mabry staff. This is a great place to perform work at and we are honored not only by Texas’s history and the prominence of some of the buildings, but we are especially honored that as a fellow, born and raised 3rd generation Austin, Texan, we get the pleasure of having had BIT Construction work at several of the buildings at Camp Mabry, which is one of Texas’s prominent historic places. To date over the past 16 months we have worked on about 8 of the Camp Mabry buildings.


What To Look For In A Real Estate Investment Contractor?

If you are looking for a real estate investment contractor please ask some detailed questions such as:

  • Are they currently licensed?
  • Does the company carry any insurance? Is it just the minimum or enough insurance to actually cover possible losses.
  • Are their crews clean, professional, and do they follow all applicable laws both local and federal.
  • How do they communicate?
  • Is the company involved in the community and professional associations?
  • Does the company name change a lot because of legal issues?
  • Most importantly, what is their reputation?

Most think it comes down to price but the facts are we all buy our material at about the same price, we all pay about the same for labor so if there is a large difference then the low guy probably missed something on the bid and you will be change ordered or shorted on quality.

If your investor property needs upgraded and higher end details added to improve the value and give you a great ROI on your real estate investment, give the pros at BIT Construction a call where residential rehab, upgrades and investor construction is our forte!

Brighten Your Real Estate Investment With Bump-Outs!

Real estate investors have long known that a small addition (a “bump-out”) that enlarges an existing room can be a value-conscious remodeling project. Often that bump-out brightens a home more than a large addition.

Look around investment property for cramped, dark areas that could be improved with a minimum-sized addition. Have you considered adding a walk-in bay window to the dining room? You’ll be amazed at how this small change will open up and brighten the room. How about a deep window seat in that favorite room for a cozy reading nook? This can be designed to include hidden storage. Angled entrances can give access to a little-used section of yard while allowing light to stream in. A bump-out would give more room for the new whirlpool bath and an expanse of windows to add spaciousness.

Bump-outs may have a funny name, but they can add space, light, and interest to many rooms in an investor house. Give the pros at BIT Construction a call today to discuss creative bump-out ideas for your investment property!

Real Estate Investment Remodeling

Remodeling Through Color On Your Real Estate Investment

Did you know that the colors selected for a home have meaning and can set mood? Studies show that color can complement architecture, enhance or diminish the sense of space, create a particular ambiance, and impact your daily moods. Color experts have studied how color is likely to affect you.

Here is what they have found:

  • Blue, universally a favorite is recognized for its tranquil effects. However, if too dark or used too expansively, it can have a depressing effect.
  • Red evokes excitement, and is an excellent accent. Often used in kitchens, it’s felt that red enhances one’s appetite.
  • Green is either loved or heartily disliked, so take care when making this selection.
  • Brown and orange are viewed as friendly and informal colors.
  • Yellow, generally perceived as a cheery color, may make children feel depressed, so use it sparingly.
  • Neutral colors can serve as dramatic backdrops for furnishings, collections, and accessories. Neutrals also add the flexibility to introduce new colors seasonally with throw pillows, artwork, and other decorative items.

When selecting your colors:

  • • Select exterior shades that harmonize with the home’s surroundings—steer towards the earthier shades (i.e. a grey-blue vs. a bright royal blue).
  • • Consider the style and era of your home—there might be some traditional colors associated with them—especially with Victorian and traditional Colonials.
  • • When viewing paint samples, look at chip sizes proportionate to how they will ultimately be used (e.g., if a wall will be painted taupe with a red accent, view a larger sample of the taupe paint against a smaller sample of the red).
  • • Less is more. Don’t overuse a color, especially in a small room.
  • • Even though a color may be too strong for an entire wall, consider it for an accent color.
  • • Most importantly, select colors that work for you and your lifestyle, not what’s considered “in” or “out” at the time. But don’t be afraid to color your world—you’ll find it will make a world of difference!

If your investor property needs upgraded and higher end details added to improve the value and give you a great ROI on your real estate investment, give the pros at BIT Construction a call where residential rehab, upgrades and investor construction is our forte!

Creativity With Storage For Investor Properties

If you’re an investor remodeling a home, houses that have adequate storage options will sell quicker. What most people don’t realize is that even the smallest homes can double their storage space with some simple but creative modifications. Here are some ideas:

  • Appliance garages–special cabinets with roll-down doors–can hide items like toasters, mixers, and food processors to free up counter space. Extra-deep counters also make a difference.
  • Under-cabinet knife slats provide a protected spot to store utensils. Existing cabinets can be replaced with deeper or taller models that reach to the ceiling. Use the top shelves for rarely used items.
  • Built-in refrigerators, perhaps faced with the same materials as your cabinets, can save space in a small kitchen.
  • A separate pantry, which holds many items within easy reach, is another valuable storage space. Narrow, vertical areas can provide the perfect place to store mops and brooms.
  • An island can improve traffic patterns in the kitchen while adding tons of storage. Slide-in cutting boards, pot racks, even an extra sink can be built in to make a big difference. Open shelves on one side can make food preparation quicker too.

Master Bedroom

  • Under-the-bed rolling drawers can hold extra clothes or linens. A built-in cedar closet can keep your woolens safe from moths. This can be created from a portion of a current closet.
  • Outfit your closet with double hanging rods, drawers, shoe holders, and hooks to create a space for everything.

Bedrooms, Living Rooms, or Dens

  • Window seats and built-in book shelves can create a private nook while providing a place for books, toys, or linens.


  • Appliance garages work in the kitchen, so Why not in the bathroom? A “garage” houses brushes; hair dryers, combs, and can include an electrical outlet, too. Medicine cabinets can be surface mounted or recessed between studs. Custom cabinetry affords optimal use of space. Vanity-to-ceiling and floor-to-ceiling built-ins that combine open shelves and enclosed cabinets are decorative as well as utilitarian.
  • While standard height for most sinks is 30 to 32 inches, most adults can use a basin more comfortably when it’s 34 to38 inches high. This extra height allows for more storage; an extra shelf in the area below the basin and additional drawers on the sides.

Workshops or Garages

  • Here, organization is very important. A place for everything and everything in its place can make a small space seem much more spacious. Pegboards can hold hooks for tools, paintbrushes, or just about anything. Accessories can be purchased to store small items like nails; some accessories hang right on the pegboard.

With a little creativity, your home can provide up to twice as much storage space as you’re now using. If you’re a REAL ESTATE AGENT trying to sell or upgrade a vacant listing, BIT Construction Services is expert at getting in to a vacant property and making the most advantageous upgrades to help your property sell, and we do it quickly. Because we know, a vacant property isn’t making money.

Storage for Investment Properties

Do’s and Don’ts of Bathroom Remodeling For Investment Properties

An expertly remodeled master bathroom will provide years of pleasure and comfort. But do an amateur job and you’ll be reminded of the fact every day. It’s a tricky space, unfortunately, with lots of moving parts crammed into a tight footprint, not to mention the volumes of water ready to exploit any and all leaks. Setting a budget and planning ahead are two ways to keep your project on track. And also take care to choose the best sink, countertop and toilet for your space. The following list of dos and don’ts will help you master the remodel, whether you do the work yourself or BIT Construction.

Seven good ideas
When you’re investing in a home remodeling project, you want to make sure that the results not only please you but add value to your home and save you money on energy and water as well. These seven steps will help you take advantage of the latest design trends, technologies and products.

Budget for the unexpected

Hidden water damage is a common problem in bathrooms, whether from a leaky shower pan or running toilet. If the floor feels spongy, that’s a sign of serious water damage. Other issues are truly hidden, for example a vent stack inside a wall that you thought you were going to knock down.

An experienced contractor will do exploratory work early in the project to sniff out as many issues as possible. In the case of the vent stack, we’ll investigate above the bathroom to see the pipe coming up through the house. But contractors can’t see through walls, so don’t expect them to catch every possible pitfall. That’s why it’s important to build a 10 to 15 percent cushion into your budget. If nothing goes wrong, you’ll have a nice little windfall.

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Hide the toilet

A master bath that’s stylish and functional can also be discreet. That’s why it’s nice to hide this fixture away, either in its own “room-within-the-room” or behind a half wall. A piece of furniture—an armoire or dresser, say—can create the necessary barrier without the expense of a framed wall.

Do choose appropriate surfaces

Your master bathroom’s surfaces do more than just contribute to the overall aesthetic. They also take lots of abuse. Porcelain tile is a favorite among designers, for use on the floors and walls alike. You can find some versions in the $5 per square foot range that look like natural stone. We recommend larger tile sizes to minimize grout lines, easing the upkeep. That might mean 18-by-18-inch tile on the floors and 12-by-12-inch on some or all of the walls, perhaps transitioning to 6-by-6 tiles on the diagonal with a glass mosaic transition strip.

Porcelain is also a popular option for bathroom sinks, though it proved prone to chipping in our tests. Enamel-on-steel sinks were especially durable and stain-resistant, as were stainless steel sinks, which are becoming more popular for use in bathrooms. Solid-surface sinks are another durable option that allows the sink to be integrated with the vanity countertop and, if you like, the adjoining cove or backsplash.

When it comes to the countertop, granite and quartz have migrated from the kitchen into the bathroom, where they deliver the same durability and visual interest. Laminate and solid surface are still popular as well, and can be cost-effective options, though both scratch easily.

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Splurge on the shower
The empire of the Roman tub is officially over. People started to realize that they could count on one hand how many times they actually used the tub. We’re now using that space to create larger showers, often with his and her showerheads, body sprays, and even steam generators. 

To create this sensual experience, you’ll need a shower stall that measures at least 4-by-6-feet, larger than the 3-by-3-feet box that used to be standard. If you can take the stall up to 5-by-7-feet, you may also be able to do away with the door, since the showerhead(s) can be directed in a way that the spray doesn’t reach beyond the shower area (an L-shaped design is helpful). This will eliminate a sizable expense, especially if you were planning on a frameless door, which can be pricey. One caveat: Don’t eliminate the bathtub if there aren’t any other bathrooms in the house with a tub.

Consider water efficiency

Showerheads, toilets, and faucets have all become more water-efficient in recent years, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary WaterSense program, which labels products that are 20 percent more efficient than federal standards. Our tests have found many WaterSense winners, including low-flow showerheads that deliver a satisfying pulse while meeting the flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. You can even have a rain showerhead these days that’s low-flow.

As for toilets, several WaterSense-qualified models that use just 1.28 gallons per flush make the recommended list of our latest toilet Ratings. That could save the average family of four 16,000 gallons of water and more than $100 per year if they’re replacing older, inefficient toilets, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Choosing a faucet with an aerator can reduce the water flow in your bathroom sink by 30 percent or more.

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Make room on the vanity

Since grooming is the main task at the vanity, it’s important to have plenty of surface area to put things down. While the his-and-her double sink configuration has been popular in the past, it often makes sense to have a single sink and more counter space. Couples usually realize that the second source of water is less important than the additional countertop. Besides maximizing the counter space, opting for a single sink vanity saves you the expense of the second sink and faucet. And eliminating a set of plumbing expands the available storage space inside the vanity.

Provide adequate ventilation and light

Moisture not only breeds mold and mildew, it can take a toll on finishes and painted surfaces. A bathroom fan is the best defense. Guidelines from the National Kitchen and Bath Association call for a ducted system that’s at least 50 cubic feet per minute, though you may need twice as much ventilation if the space is larger than 100 square feet or if you plan to install a steam shower. Consider a humidity-sensing unit that will automatically turn on and off depending on the amount of moisture in the air.

As for lighting, the goal is to bring different layers of illumination into the room. A ceiling fixture is suitable for general lighting, but it will cast shadows on your face when you’re seated at the vanity. That’s why you’ll also want sconces or other vertical fixtures mounted on either side of the vanity. Some medicine cabinets are available with vertical lighting strips.

The shower and toilet should also have a dedicated task light, such as a recessed canister light. Consider fixtures that use LED bulbs. Many provided bright, even illumination in some lightbulb tests with the promise of 50,000 hours, though they do cost more. Remember to put the fixtures on dimmer switches so that light levels can be adjusted depending on the mood and task at hand.

Seven costly mistakes
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Avoiding these seven common goofs could save you thousands of dollars on the project, especially if you’re planning an upscale remodel. You’re also likely to enhance the comfort, style, and efficiency of the finished project.

 Don’t rush the process

Now that you’re committed to the idea of a new bathroom, you probably want it done tomorrow. But poor planning is the leading cause of cost overruns on these projects. Nothing is more expensive than doing things twice. Depending on the size and scope of your bath project, you should spend several weeks to a few months on the planning process. If you don’t have a Pinterest account yet, consider one. This website lets you keep a digital ideas file of inspiring images you find on the Internet, say for tile styles, favorite fixtures, and clever designs.

As you plan the space, try to come up with a design that keeps the major plumbing lines in place. Moving the toilet from one wall to another will mean relocating a 3-inch drain line in a home, which can cost thousands. If you can keep the toilet, shower, and sink where they are, you’ll save significantly on the project.

Don’t skimp on skilled labor

The do-it-yourself approach can be an effective way to trim costs, but it’s best to focus on the front and back ends of the project, say, ripping out the old tub during demolition and handling the finish painting. Leave the more complicated installations to professionals at BIT Construction. A good tile setter can make a low-cost tile look expensive.

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Don’t cut corners on key materials

Another common mistake is cheaping out on those items that get the most use. Lifetime warranties that cover leaks and stains have become more common on all but the cheapest faucets. PVD (physical vapor deposition) finishes resisted our best attempts at scratching them, but drain cleaners can stain them slightly. Chrome was also pretty durable, but can be scratched if you rub it with a heavy-duty scouring pad.

Tile is another material that you touch and feel each day. While you can find quality options for $5 per square foot, super cut-rate tiles may have slight size inconsistencies. The results will be crooked lines that make a bathroom look shoddy.

 So where can you save? Light fixtures tend to perform the same across most price points—it’s the high design that costs more. You might also find that opting for a basic finish on faucets and fixtures saves you hundreds of dollars without compromising quality. And you definitely don’t need to blow your budget on a luxury toilet, like Kohler's $6,390 Numi, with its motion-activated lid and built-in bidet. Those are cool features, but toilets costing as little as $300 delivered the best flush.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

You may be the picture of good health today, but you can’t predict the future. What you can do, however, is ensure that your bathroom will serve you and your loved ones regardless of your abilities by following the basics of Universal Design (i.e. aging in place). It is absolutely coming onto people’s radar, even younger clients.

And you don’t have to worry about ending up with an institutional look. Many universal design features are now part of mainstream bathroom design. For example, the larger shower stall that’s in favor today offers easy access and universal use, provided it has a zero-threshold and a built-in seating platform. The bench is also a nice place for an able-bodied women to sit and shave her legs. Regarding toilets, so-called comfort-height models that are easier to get on and off of are now just as common as standard-height models. Even grab bars have enjoyed a design upgrade; many now match towel bars and other accessories. And they’re not just for the elderly. Grab bars make it easier for pregnant women or young children to get in and out of the bathtub.

Even if you don’t incorporate every element of universal design into the bathroom now, it’s worth putting in the structural framework, such as blocking in the walls for future support bars. Make sure to make a drawing of the wall so that you can find the blocking if, and when, the time comes.

Don’t forget to factor in water use

Bathroom fixtures have become more water-efficient, especially if you choose WaterSense-qualified models. But the trend toward tricked-out showers, often with his-and-her “shower towers” that might include multiple showerheads and body sprays, will likely result in your water and energy use going up. It also means your bathroom’s existing drain and plumbing lines might require an upgrade. You may need to resize your water lines from half-inch to three-quarters, an upgrade that can add hundreds, if not thousands, to your project.

Thirsty fixtures may require you to upgrade your water heater as well, say, from a unit that holds 50 gallons a day to one that holds 80 gallons. That could cost you another $1,000 or so—figure on roughly $2,000 if you choose one of the energy-efficient hybrid water heaters that Consumer Reports' test have found to be good long-term investments.

Don’t buy products online without seeing them in person

Going online is great for researching products and design ideas. But materials and finishes aren’t always as they appear on your computer screen. That blue-gray quartz vanity top might be more blue than gray in real life, or the light fixtures that look understated online could overwhelm your actual space. That’s why we always recommend visiting a showroom or design center before you buy. While you’re there, you may even get the showroom to meet or even beat the online price. 

Don’t forget about storage
Running from the shower to grab a towel from the hallway linen closet gets old—and cold—fast. A closet inside the bathroom is ideal, though an armoire or even just a simple chest can handle the essentials. And a medicine cabinet is still the best place for your various health-care and first-aid essentials.

5 New Remodeling Trends That You Can Use To Flip A House

Some of the latest trends in homebuilding and remodeling were not too hard to spot. Is anyone surprised that Americans, already living in monster homes, want even bigger ones?

But there were some developments we never saw coming.

Here's a few that Mark Nash, author of Real Estate A-Z for Buying and Selling a Home, has gleaned from a survey he conducted questioning 923 real estate agents, brokers and industry executives:

Upscale garages: Who knew that those smelly, greasy spaces overstuffed with junk and empty boxes would morph into showplaces for Home Improvement types?

'Today's owners want them decked out with cabinet and storage systems, matching refrigerators, air conditioning and residential looking flooring," says Nash.

Garage remodeling starts at around $7,500 and goes up, sometimes steeply, from there depending on size and just how nice you want it.

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Caving: People want more personal space - for both mom and pop. Apparently, married people often like time alone. Who knew?

So, an amenity of choice these days is 'personal, dedicated space for one person in a household to go and work on projects or simply chill,' says Nash.

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Rejuvenation rooms: No, This is not simply to work out in. These are one-stop sites for exercising, meditating, yoga, sauna and fancy steam showers.

'This is kind of a new age, serenity room where you do these quiet exercise things and then jump in the spa,' says Nash.

First you get your head together, then your body and then you steam off the sweat you expended doing it."

Finally, the article had some interesting remodeling trends that were now considered to be "out" and no longer a current trend (although I disagree with the Bamboo Flooring):

"On the Way Out
Spiral staircases
, which were once the rage, are now death to the home seller. Aging boomers don't care to climb them and they're tough on pets and small children. Nash advises sellers to remove and replace them before putting a home on the market.

Bamboo floors are also out. The early reviews are in and owners have found them to be easily scratched and prone to warping.

Hardwood laminate flooring is also a no-go. 'They don't stand up to multiple sandings to change color or remove stains,' says Nash."

Well, if you have any plans to flip a home, consider


Ways to Improve your REHAB- FLIP Investment

Whether you're selling your home or you just want to make some home improvements, here are some renovations you can have done to really bring up the value of your house:

Kitchen Remodeling: there are home improvement shows dedicated just to the kitchen! The kitchen has become the heart of the home and everyone wants to refurbish or expand theirs. They want natural stone counters, comfortable and easy-to-maintain floors, new cabinets and hardware, and new appliances. Studies have shown that a kitchen remodel usually guarantees the best return on investment and is the best way to improve the value of the house. If it's done right...

Bathroom Renovation: homeowners want to pamper themselves in state-of-the-art master bathrooms. They want space, beautiful appointments, and whirlpool tubs. If there is room for a separate shower and toilet, that's a bonus.

First Impressions: when it comes to increasing home values, every one thinks of the interior first. But your "curb appeal" is what makes the first impression for everyone who comes to your home - whether it's the dreaded mother-in-law visit or your first visitor during an open house. It's important to cut back overgrown bushes and trees, add landscaping and new sod. Take care of it all with a new sprinkler system.

New Replacement Windows: not only are new windows easier to clean but they usually pay for themselves in about 5 years. Your old wood windows that have expanded and contracted endlessly each season are letting out your heat and air conditioning. New windows always add to the value of any home for aesthetic reasons, environmental reasons, and financial reasons. What's not to love?

A New Roof: a new, strong roof tells everyone that this home is protected. It will prevent Mother Nature from wreaking havoc on the rest of the home. The new roof and gutters will push water away from the foundation. The new vents will help regulate temperature inside, saving money on utility bills. And it looks pretty darn good, too.

With an unstable real estate market and rising interest rates, many are choosing to stay put for now and to improve the value of their home. When the time is right to sell again, make sure your home is ready to get you the most bang for your buck!

As a contractor specializing in working with RE - Real Estate Investors in Austin Texas, we are here to work with you on these or other flip – rehab projects: Commercial or residential investment real estate. If you're in the market for any of these renovations, keep in mind!

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Flipping Houses: 10 Things To Look for in Investment Properties

1. Basically sound condition without major structural defects. In most communities, this means looking for three- or four-bedroom houses with good foundations and without a major need for renovation other than cosmetic fix-up. Avoid two-bedroom houses unless your town has a strong renter or buyer demand for these smaller homes.

2. Good location with a low crime rate. No matter how enticing a run-down, profit-potential house might be, if it has a poor location there's little or nothing you can do to cure that.

For example, houses next to a noisy freeway or on a very busy street won't appeal to most other buyers except at bargain prices so there is little you can do to raise values in an undesirable location. If most of the nearby houses are run-down and poorly maintained, they will drag down the value of your house. However, if you buy a run-down house in a good neighborhood of well-maintained homes, they will drag the market value of your home up after it is renovated.

3. Good-quality school district. Even when a house is in sound condition in a good location, if the public schools are of poor quality, that greatly hurts the resale value for fixer-upper houses. Always look for houses with school test scores at or above the median for the area where families with children are attracted.

4. Need for profitable cosmetic fix-up work, but not major unprofitable repairs. Examples of profitable cosmetic improvements include fresh paint inside and outside (the most profitable improvement you can make), new light fixtures, new carpets and flooring, and fresh landscaping.

But stay way from fixer-upper houses that need unprofitable work (unless you have a sound construction crew and construction manager to maintain your budget), such as new wiring, new plumbing, foundation repairs, major kitchen and bathroom renovation, room additions, and a new roof. These expensive, Improvements really need the expertise of a builder or remodeler who really understands fast track construction as well as well versed with adversity and unforeseen issues, which are always the norm. These projects needs to be exercised with caution and bought at 50-50% of estimated resell value after improvements. SO the budget and knowing the true costs are key with major renovations.

5. Purchase price at least 30 percent below the market value of nearby comparable homes in good condition, when your only doing cosmetic “lipstick” improvements. 40-50% below market value if your doing major work (These are minimums) and each project needs to be assessed uniquely on its own. "Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood" is a sound motto to follow. Another good motto is: "Your first profit is earned when buying at the right price."

If the seller won't heavily discount the sales price to compensate for a home's run-down condition, keep looking until you find a house with profit potential meeting the criteria explained here.

6. Purchase from a motivated seller who is anxious to sell. Motivating reasons for selling a home include job transfer, pending foreclosure, divorce, health reasons, family birth or death, and unemployment.

If the home has been listed for sale at least 60 to 90 days with no offers, even if the asking price is too high, that is another indication of possible sales motivation so it may be time to make a "lowball" purchase offer.

7. Affordable low-down-payment financing. Taking over an existing mortgage (called buying "subject to"); a lease with option to buy; seller carryback financing; or a combination of these methods indicates probably easy financing.

If the house is in bad shape, avoid obtaining a new mortgage unless it is approved by the lender on an after-fix-up, market-value appraisal. After your fix-up work is completed, that's the time to get a new mortgage, based on the home's increased market value.

8. Seller or tenant will vacate immediately upon transfer of title. The best way to profit from a fixer-upper house is to work on a vacant structure. Attempting to make improvements while the seller or a tenant lives in the property makes the upgrading work doubly difficult.

9. Within a 60-minute drive from your current residence. During renovation of a fix-up house, it pays to visit the property nearly every day to be certain the work is getting done correctly.

When the owner doesn't inspect frequently, the workers often don't show up or they slack off. Incidentally, never pay contractors by the hour (except for minor work) and always pay by the job after it is finished to your satisfaction.

Of course if you hire the right contractor and you work as a team, he/she should have your back. The contractor who knows and understands the investment flip and rehab market realizes if they help you gain the most money by staying under budget and coming in on schedule, the investor will choose them for the next project. The goal is to be doing 2-3 at a time for maximum revenue generation. If your busy trying to do all the construction management or event the actual work yourself, then your not freeing yourself up to find the next greatest purchase. As an investor who wants to do this Full time or ¾ time, your time is spent finding or selling your projects… not so much in doing the work or holding the hand of your handyman contactor. Spend the time and the money and form relationships with a key contractor to be your partner in your rehab business.

10. Good demand from renters and/or buyers. Unless you plan to live in the fixed-up house, it pays to consider the current demand for houses from renters and buyers. If local employment and economic conditions are good, chances are home values are stable.

However, if more people are moving out than are moving into the community, maybe it's not the right time to invest in a fixer-upper house there unless it can be bought for a 40-50 percent discount off the market value of nearby homes in excellent condition.

But in Austin Texas, this is not the case, right now more than 120 people a day are estimated to be moving in to Austin area, as of July 2013 statistics. The available rentals and homes are much in need. There should be no problem finding renters or buyers for your newly revitalized project.